Amit Shah's hand seen in major cabinet reshuffle in Odisha
Bhubaneshwar: The look east call given by the Bhartiya Janata Party and the result of recent civic elections in the state seem to be behind the major cabinet reshuffle effected by chief minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday.
The BJP has given this call to enlarge its footprint in West Bengal and Odisha and give a tough fight to the Trinamool Congress and Biju Janata Dal founded by Naveen's father.
Besides inducting ten new faces to give the cabinet a younger look, Patnaik has shifted an equal number of his cabinet colleagues to the party organisation to make it stronger and able to face the challenge to be posed by the BJP in upcoming elections.
In the reshuffle winnability seems to have mattered a lot. For, a controversial leader like Maheshwar Mohanty has also found berth.
Some insiders have noticed another change in the chief minister. He has been largely consulting bureaucrats on most of the issues. Now, in the wake of drubbing in Panchayat elections, he is paying more attention to party MLAs and organisational heads.
All this has been welcomed by party men. It may, however, cause some rethinking in the BJP if it hopes to improve its performance in the state in the next Lok Sabha polls.
The impressive road-show and crowd response to recent visit to the state by Prime Minister Narendra Modi ,might have also given the wake-up call to chief minister Naveen Patnaik who has been ruling the state for past 17 years without interruption.
As far as the BJP is concerned it sees a better future in the state because of its impressive performance in the Panchayat and Zila Parishad elections.
Along with northern state of Uttar Pradesh, a big mining scandal had come to light in Odisha, involving more than Rs 60,000 crores it will be an additional issue to be raised during elections.
Largely because of reports of these scams and Patnaik's complacency, the BJP made a big come back in the state in civic elections. The party which had only 36 Panchayat seats in 2012 bagged 306 in elections held after five years-- in February last.
The ruling Biju Janata Dal lost 191 seats, causing much embarrassment to the party, whatever it may say. The party also lost 12 Zila Parishad seats which confirmed that Panchayat victory was not an isolated development and the ruling party could take it easy to its own peril.