It has been two decades since BJD and Naveen Patnaik have been ruling the state of Odisha- which was untouched by the Modi wave of 2014. In a special edition of 'Political headline', Republic TV headed towards Puri- the spiritual capital of the state - to find out what the battle looks like in the state and how BJP is campaigning to win over Odisha.
A joint rally was held on Tuesday headed by party president Amit Shah and three senior BJP leaders of Odisha- Sambit Patra contesting from Puri, Jay Panda contesting from Kendrapada and Dharmendra Pradhan -Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas.
Speaking about the platform for the BJP's Odisha campaign with Republic TV's Shivani Gupta, Dharmendra Pradhan said that he was confident of the Modi wave hitting Odisha and that BJP will also form the state government in the assembly polls, pointing to the huge crowds.
"There is a huge Modi wave in Odisha. Puri is the cultural capital of India and all devoted Odiyas come to Puri to seek Jagannath's blessings. BJD which was were strong here, is gone. BJD is crumbling, Modi is emerging. Here in Odisha, we are fighting the polls on the plank of development, women safety and 'sab ke Saath sabka Vikas'."
Predicting the poll outcomes, he said, "All poll pundits are saying BJP will get 15-17 seats in Lok Sabha and I am confident that in Odisha BJP will form the govt."
Talking about the Opposition and their poll tactics, he continued:
"Congress is irrelevant in Odisha politics. They are a dying party. While Mehbooba wants to weaken India, BJP is for united India. People like Mayawati are desperate. They don't have any issue to talk about. They only want to oppose Modi. But Indians are rock solid behind Modi."
BJP Puri candidate Sambit Patra too shared his agenda for Puri while explaining why 2019's Odisha is different from 2014's Odisha, saying:
"I am blessed that our beloved party President Amit Shah- the Chanakya of Indian politics, is present with us. Parivartan is the keyword for Odisha. Lakhs of people are chanting 'Modi Modi Modi', this is change. Though we had a Modi wave in 2014, Odisha was not organized mature enough to pluck that fruit. Today we have a very strong-footed organization, thanks to Amit Shah and Modiji. We want development in Puri which does not have hospitals, good roads, and basic amenities."
Recently appointed BJP vice-president Jay Panda too shared his confidence in BJP's future in Odisha saying:
"You can see the enthusiasm in the crowds here at the great road outside the Jagannath temple. These kinds of numbers come out only for rath-yatra and it is hugely significant for any party to gather such numbers. BJP is going to do extremely well in both Lok Sabha and Assembly elections which are simultaneously contested in Odisha."
Legislative Assembly Elections in Odisha in 2019 are scheduled to be held concurrently with Indian General Elections - 2019 in 4 phases - April 11, 18, 23 and 29.T he counting of votes will be on May 23 with the results also announced on May 23.