Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Bharatiya Janata Party commenced its campaign in Orissa for election-2009 from Bhubaneswar on March 16 with its central leader charismatic Susama Swaraj harping, however, on non-issues.
Her diatribes centered on how Navin Patnaik has sabotaged the alliance with BJP. But she failed to stress on the reality that Navin has sabotaged Orissa.
She cursed Navin for having betrayed BJP at the eve of the elections. The folly he committed has in fact isolated him in politics as a result of which, she said, peoples of Orissa have started to look at him such askance that he is trying to hide behind the shadow of a third front that congenitally staggers over the issue of leadership. The pride that Navin has displayed in dispersing BJP from his vicinity, Swaraj said, has landed him in sharing seats with the Communists and will eventually transport him to a state of non-entity in politics. Betrayers will never get people’s blessings, she maintained.
But all these were non-issues. She could not raise any issue for the elections. She could have raised the issue of corruption in allocation of mines to POSCO and the likes. She failed. She could have raised the issue of displacement of natives in interest of outsiders including foreigners. She failed. The state BJP leaders, after collapse of the coalition, had hinted at exposing all the mischief that Navin has played against the State by misusing his prerogative as the Chief Minister. But she failed to mention any. She could not even coin an issue on squandering away of mineral wealth of Orissa without application of foresight to how to safe guard the interest of the present and future generation of the Oriya nation, to whom Mother Nature has gifted the wealth for use for generations to come. She could not raise an issue on whether or not a government elected for only five years is qualified to squander away the whole lot of natural resources, which, once lost cannot be created by any human agency and hence would cause a permanent loss to the peoples. She even could not raise an issue on whether after death of the alliance coalesced before election Navin is retainable as CM even for a moment.
The other speakers including Biswabhusan Harichandan, Juel Oram, Kharavel Swain, Dharmendra Pradhan, Manmohan Samal, Surama Padhi, Chandan Mitra and State Unit Chief Suresh Pujari also could not raise any issue except defending BJP’s failure to oppose or expose the malfeasances of Navin, as to them they had to remain silent under the code of alliance. The so-called code was neither known nor comprehensible to any except themselves.
Thus the star campaigner of BJP as well as the initiators of its campaign could not flag off the party with any issue to proceed. They were rather eager to defend the position of their party in the matter of termination of the alliance.
But, if the great gathering under the BJP banner was indicative of anything it was of complete confidence in the rank and file of BJP to win the elections. There was jubilation over collapse of the coalition; no confusion. This jubilation on the verge of election is absent in all other political organizations, as I have marked.