BJP sets eyes on Odisha for rise in the east; Targets 2024 Lok Sabha, Assembly polls

Niraj Sharma
07 Oct 2022
BJP sets eyes on Odisha for rise in the east; Targets 2024 Lok Sabha, Assembly polls

New Delhi: With an eye on the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, Bharatiya Janata Party has begun preparations to take on the Biju Janata Dal in Odisha in an attempt to gain the maximum possible seats in the state.

As the Odisha Legislative Assembly is scheduled to go for polls along with the Lok Sabha polls, the party's focus has further strengthened as it wants to emerge victorious in the state.

Sources stated that the BJP has identified Odisha as one of the states where it can improve its performance hence the repeated tours of senior leaders like Union Home Minister Amit Shah, party chief JP Nadda and National General Secretary (Organization) BL Santhosh.

Nadda is scheduled to visit the state again this week, where he is expected to finalise party strategy with state leaders, sources said.

Interestingly, considering the importance that the party accords to the state, two general secretaries have been given the charge to overlook preparations for the polls in Odisha. National General Secretary Arun Singh and newly-appointed general secretary Sunil Bansal have been tasked with wresting the state away from Naveen Patnaik-led BJD.

Interestingly, BJD and BJP had earlier fought elections as alliance partners. However, the allies parted ways in 2008 after BJD walked out of the NDA post the Kandhamal riots in the state.

Over the past decade the saffron unit leaders' have worked tirelessly to replace Congress as the main opposition in the state and now want to offer an alternative to the people of the state which has been ruled by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik led Biju Janata Dal since 2000. Patnaik is likely to seek his sixth term in office in 2024.

The saffron unit is aiming to garner the maximum possible seats in the state with 21 Lok Sabha seats up for grabs.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the BJD was able to secure 13 constituencies while the BJP won 8 seats.

In the 2014 general elections, the BJD won 20 seats and BJP secured just one seat. BJP's top leadership is happy with the steady gains in the state and the party hopes to replace BJD in the next few years as the top political party of choice for the electorate in Odisha.

Importance of Odisha in BJP’s eastern push

With Nitish Kumar's exit from NDA, a huge void has been left for the BJP in East India ahead of 2024 and the saffron party feels that it has its best chance to expand its eastern footprint in Odisha.

BJP has been making steady gains in the state The BJP is now playing its cards to emerge as a serious contender in the 147-member Legislative Assembly as well.

The party was completely erased from power in eastern India and non-BJP parties are now in government in electorally significant Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha. The issue is very critical for the BJP as it was banking on these states to grow and seek more seats in the 2024 general elections.

The BJP has been eyeing expansion in Eastern India ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, and Odisha is an important part of the plan to secure additional seats in the region.

With the BJP already hitting the saturation mark in North, West and Northeast India, this region along with the South are the main hopes for growth and more seats for the saffron unit in the 2024 general elections.

In Odisha, the BJP has also continued to aggressively push its Hindu-Muslim pitch and an attack on the incumbent government led by Patnaik.

BJP on its part has instructed its workers to concentrate on booth level and reaching out to new voters. The appointment of President Droupadi Murmu, who hails from the state, is also likely to help the party reach the strong tribal community in the region, sources said.

Read The Next Article