Bharatiya Janata Party's look east call sounds alarm bells
Bhubaneswar: The Bharatiya Janata Party's look east call , after enlarging its footprint in the north-east, has sounded alarm bells to two non-BJP ruled states of West Bengal and Odisha .It has concerned the latter more because assembly elections in the state are only two years away.
Leaders of the ruling parties in these states are believed to be in touch with each other and may form some of kind alliance to prevent the BJP from making further in-roads. The party has already won three assembly seats in West Bengal and emerged as the second largest party in Panchayat elections in Odisha.
It had drawn a blank in assembly polls in West Bengal in 2011 and done poorly in Panchayat elections in the neighbouring state of Odisha.
As assembly polls in West Bengal are four years away and they will be held in Odisha in 2019, the party is paying more attention to this state. The national executive meet of the party held in the state recently has to be taken in this light.
It also organised a long and impressive road-show with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the forefront to make its intention known. The crowd response was encouraging to the party and could well be the wake-up call for chief minister Naveen Patnaik who has been ruling the state for past 17 years without interruption.
The party was largely drawn to the state because of its impressive performance in the Panchayat and Zila Parishad elections. It sees a better future in the state after these results which might have been influenced by anti-incumbency factor and some of the corruption cases to which some ruling party members and ministers were linked.
Along with northern state of Uttar Pradesh, a big mining scandal had come to light in Odisha, involving more than Rs 60,000 crores,
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 which was founded by Naveen's father 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.
If it has any doubt left about the BJP's game plan, the party should re-read statements of BJP president Amit Shah. He is going to devote much time and energy to the state which can be also beneficial to it in the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls. The look east call, clearly, is not an empty slogan.