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BJD Leaders Spar on Social Media, Accuse Each Other of Weakening Party

The Assembly elections in Odisha are due in two-and-a-half years and the Lok Sabha election will also take place at around the same time.

Pallavi Ghosh | CNN-News18_pallavighosh

Updated:March 28, 2017, 6:11 PM IST

New Delhi: As BJP marches ahead after bagging Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur, it has set its eyes on Odisha where the party has performed really well in Panchayat elections. On the other hand, the BJD, which has had an iron grip in the state, is already showing cracks.

It all started with a Twitter spat between two senior MPs for BJD -Tathagat Satapathy and Jay Panda.

Satapathy, without taking names, alleged that someone from his party was planning to cross over to the BJP. In fact, Satapathy accused the BJP of trying to engineer a Tamil Nadu kind of split in Odisha as well. Things looked fishy when Jay Panda jumped into the fray and attacked Satapathy. Many in the BJP wondered why did Panda even have to respond. What has intensified the spilt talks is the latest article by Panda where he has called for introspection. He wrote ‘we honestly introspect, we must acknowledge that all the above-listed allegations about the political environment in 1997, including widespread corruption and sheltering of powerful people committing criminal acts, are again being alleged about Odisha of the past three years.’

Satpathy, in a series of tweets, also slammed BJP saying it wants to split the party in AIADMK style.

When asked about Satpathy's allegations Panda told News18, "I've done an honest introspection in the right spirit, as said by BJD president. I hope to act as a conscience keeper for the party, in whose founding I too had a role. I want the party to rediscover its strengths and the president to take the kind of strong steps he was known for. I deny all other extraneous allegations that have been made about me."

Satapathy refused to react saying what he tweeted is what he stands by. But sources close to him say that Panda's hasty response on Twitter reveals a guilty conscience.

As BJP prepares for Lok Sabha polls of 2019, the same year when Odisha goes to elections, the strategy of Modi-Shah is simple. Conquer new territories and hoist the BJP flag where it has no or negligible presence.

In Odisha, despite the reign of an educated English-speaking Chief Minister, the problems are same - unemployment, lop-sided development and few job opportunities.

Figures also show that the number of young voters is rising and what they want are jobs and education. The charisma of Modi remains intact and is a big lure. And the BJP wants to tap this. Which is why it's holding its national executive in Bhubaneswar on 15 and 16th April.

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| Edited by: Nakshab Khan
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