Shah hopes to consolidate on Panchayat poll victory
Buoyed by the impressive performance in the Panchayat polls in Odisha this year, BJP President Amit Shah has reached here on a three-day tour of the state starting from Tuesday, to attend 'Mo Booth Sabuthu Majboot' (My Booth is the Strongest) programme, an initiative to assess how far the people have benefited by various schemes introduced by the Modi government in the last three years.
Shah would embark on the much awaited three-day affair from Kukudakhandi village in Ganjam district, which is incidentally the home turf of Chief Minister and BJD chief Naveen Patnaik. During the first day of his visit, BJP national president would travel to CRPF Square, Khandagiri Square, Bhuasuni Temple Chhak, Gada Khordha Chhak, Balugaon Bypass, Langaleswar, Humma Bazar area, Rambha, Ganja, Chhatrapur, Chamakhandi, Jagannathpur and Regedi Chhak. Party sources said that major receptions have been organised at different points of Berhampur city to welcome him. Shah would also address a public meeting there.
Reportedly, few local BJP leaders claimed that the incumbent BJD is afraid of the rise of the saffron party, thus, they are intimidating locals and asking them to remain absent from BJP's rallies and public meetings.
However, senior state BJD leader Sajjan Sharma didn't agree with it as he said, "Nothing has been reported to us like that as yet. Even while the Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan visited Odisha last month, local BJD leaders cooperated with us to maintain the law and order."
On Wednesday, during the second day of his visit, Shah would visit to Biraja Temple in Jajpur town. In the last day of this trip, he would hold Panchayat Sammelan in Dhauli district on Thursday morning, followed by his address to the Karyakarta Sammelan at Hotel Pal Hights in Bhubaneswar in afternoon.
Apart from public rally and booth level meetings, the party has stressed on OBCs and other minorities. The BJP president would also lunch with Dalit families in both Ganjam and Jajpur districts. Moreover, He will also meet five households of the village and discuss various welfare programmes implemented by the Modi Government on Tuesday and Wednesday.
His visit was scheduled for the last week of June, but due to heightened political developments over the upcoming Presidential elections, the programme has now been re-scheduled for the first week of July.
Later, the national leader would meet senior party leaders and hold discussion on strategies to expand the base of the party and win more MPs and enough MLAs to form a BJP government in the state. Shah's three-day Odisha tour comes on the backdrop of the party chief stating at an event in New Delhi that besides Gujarat, Karnataka and Himachal, his current focus is on Odisha.
The BJP sees tremendous growth potential in Odisha for two reasons — anti-incumbency against Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who has been in power for the last seventeen years, and the down-slide of the Congress, the main opposition party in the state till recently.