Who will dominate Odia identity? Why is there so much bitterness between BJP and BJD in the middle of elections?

Ronit Kawale
Ronit Kawale - Senior Editor
6 Min Read

New Delhi: The second phase of voting was completed in Odisha yesterday i.e. on Monday 20th May. On one hand, there was the 5th phase of voting in the country and on the other hand, there was the second phase of voting in Odisha. There are two phases of elections left. Along with Lok Sabha, assembly elections are also being held in the state. Before the elections, there was talk of an alliance between BJP and BJD in the state and now within a few days the bitterness has increased a lot. First the statement given by PM Modi on June 10 and then the recent comment of Sambit Patra, the political rhetoric between BJP and BJD has become even more intense. The Odisha CM got an opportunity to attack after BJP candidate from Puri Lok Sabha seat Sambit Patra made remarks calling the state's revered deity a devotee of Modi. As the elections are progressing in the state, personal attacks are also being made from both sides. Apart from this, the issue of Oriya identity has also started from both the sides.

The next CM will be the son of the state's soil

The example of friendship between Naveen Patnaik and PM Modi was given but now both the leaders are attacking each other. Modi said that on June 10, BJP will be the Chief Minister of Odisha. During this, while targeting Naveen Patnaik, Modi said that Naveen Patnaik, who has been on the post of CM of Odisha for so many years, cannot tell the names of everyone. Districts of the state without seeing the paper. Recently, in an interview, PM Modi was asked a question about forming an alliance and then contesting the elections separately. PM Modi said that BJP had contested against BJD in the 2014 and 2019 elections. The party's support base increased significantly in the state. He said that it is our commitment that whichever BJP leader becomes the next Chief Minister of Odisha, he will be a son of the soil of the state. The people of the state have given BJD more than two decades and now they deserve a better alternative. PM Modi also pointed towards Oriya identity.

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Naveen Patnaik got a chance after Patra's comment
On the other hand, after Sambit Patra's comment, Naveen Patnaik linked the whole matter to Oriya identity. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik appealed to the BJP not to drag Lord Jagannath into politics after his remarks describing the state's revered deity as a devotee of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Patnaik criticized Patra for hurting Odia identity in a post on social media platform X. He said that Mahaprabhu Shri Jagannath is the lord of the universe. Calling Mahaprabhu a devotee of another human being is an insult to God…completely condemnable. This has hurt the sentiments and faith of crores of Jagannath devotees and Oriya people around the world. Patnaik said that by doing this you have deeply hurt the Oriya identity and the people of Odisha will remember this for a long time. On the pretext of Patra's statement, Naveen Patnaik also launched a scathing attack on BJP.

What is the reason for bitterness between the two parties?
In the midst of elections, many political experts are linking this bitterness only to the elections. Naveen Patnaik's party supported BJP at every small and big occasion at the center. Recently, PM Modi had called the Odisha CM his friend, while Naveen Patnaik had given eight out of ten marks to the Modi government. Some people also consider former bureaucrat and Naveen Patnaik's close aide Pandian as the reason behind this. After leaving the job, Pandian has now entered politics and is being counted as the number 2 leader in the party. Pandian is originally from Tamil Nadu and seeing his activism, BJP has linked it to Odia identity. This is also considered a reason behind the alliance not being formed in the state. At the same time, some experts also believe that this bitterness is only for the elections. At the same time, some people are also seeing the Congress angle behind this. If both BJP and BJD had come together, then the Congress party would have clearly emerged as the opposition and it would have got a chance to increase its mass base in the state. In such a situation, this could have harmed both BJP and BJD, hence both the parties did not come together.

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