Bhubaneswar, February 12: The battle line in Odisha is slowly getting drawn with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) slowly upping its ante against its arch rival – the Biju Janata Dal (BJD).
With some pre-poll surveys predicting “better performances” by the BJP in Odisha in the forthcoming Lok Sabha and State Assembly polls, the saffron party has begun an exercise to nail the regional party that has been in power in the state for 24 years now.
Until recently, it was being discussed in political circles that the BJP would focus only on Lok Sabha seats in Odisha and desist from causing inconvenience to the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) as the later has always proved itself as a “trustworthy partner” in the Parliament, though it is not an official members of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
However, the BJP election in-charge for Odisha, Vijaypal Singh Tomar on Sunday, categorically declared that his party would grab power in the state by winning 80 of the 147 assembly seats and 16 of the 21 Lok Sabha berths.
The BJP at present has 22 MLAs in the State Assembly and 8 Lok Sabha members from the State.
On Monday, Tomar held multiple rounds of meetings with senior leaders of the state BJP unit and chalked out a comprehensive poll strategy to oust the BJD from power.
Sources said, after long hours of deliberations, it was decided in the meetings that senior leaders of the party would visit Odisha at regular intervals to galvanise the organisation.
BJP national president JP Nadda will visit the state towards the end of February. However, his visit will be preceded by former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s arrival here in the city on Tuesday. Chouhan is scheduled to review the preparations for Cuttack and Jagatsinghpur Parliamentary segments, party sources said.
Apart from Chouhan, Union minister Nitin Gadkari will also be visiting Odisha on February 15. He is scheduled to visit Puri Jagannath temple for darshan and review the preparations of the party in the same Parliamentary constituency.
Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is also scheduled to visit Odisha on February 22 and attend several programmes here.