The ruling-BJP at the centre seems unsure about how to take on the BJD government in Odisha, a state which holds immense value for the right-wing party in its calculation to come back to power in Delhi.
News portal The Wire in its opinion column on Wednesday said BJP and its chief Amit Shah have a tough task in Odisha. The party has little clue on how to reach out to voters. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his last three election rallies, have been cautious about attacking Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Shah has went the whole hog, slamming his administration at his Cuttack rally on Tuesday. He also took a dig at Naveen for his lack of command over the Odia language.
The fact is, Shah has struggled to find a polarising tactic in the state – a method which has been highly successful elsewhere, The Wire said. Apart from north India, Shah has been painting the Mamata Banerjee government in Bengal as only a “Muslim-friendly” government. The communal card has pumped up the party’s vote share in the state.
Similarly in Assam, the uproar he created over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill and National Register of Citizens has seemingly driven a wedge between Ahoms and Bengalis.
With only around 2 per cent Muslims in Odisha and no significant identity issue to exploit, Shah could only resort to personal attacks against the chief minister, while pushing a vague development agenda, the news portal said.
“The saffron party, which claims to be the biggest champions of Hindus, is struggling in a state which is by far one of the most faith-driven in the country. That, perhaps, is the biggest irony of the situation,” it added.