Bhubaneswar: With the much-anticipated Patkura polls done and dusted, what lies ahead for Bijoy Mohapatra? Has the countdown to his political end begun? Or will the wily Bijoy rise again like the proverbial Phoenix?
Different people have different opinions on these. But what is amazing is that Mohapatra, who incidentally, was among the founders of the ruling BJD, continues to provide grist to the political mill, despite losing election after election and failing to make it to the Odisha Legislative Assembly for the last 19 years. Will he manage to remain in the political frame any longer? Or, is it curtains for one of the craftiest politicos of Odisha?
As questions abound, let’s take a look at some of the likely scenarios:
End of the Road: At 69, Bijoy is not getting any younger. The latest electoral defeat coupled with his known discomfiture within the BJP could render him irrelevant and push him off the political platform.
Maintain Status Quo: Bijoy would continue to be Naveen’s bête noire and raise important issues through the media while biding his time. He has managed to do so for the last 19 years and might prefer to do the same. In the process, he might battle for his political survival but chances are bleak that he would return to centrestage.
Quit Electoral Politics: This is a possibility because he has lost four consecutive elections beginning 2004. After four terms in the Assembly, he was forced to not contest in 2000 with Naveen withdrawing his ticket at the last moment. Desperate attempts by Bijoy to become an MLA have since failed. Even his decision to back Trinamool Congress’ candidate Trilochan Behera in the 2000 polls did not help his cause as the latter joined hands with the BJD after becoming a lawmaker. Shifting of constituency from Patkura to Mahakalpada and
back to Patkura has also not ensured victory for Bijoy, who, during the Biju Patnaik government in the early 1990s, was considered the most powerful minister. His possible retirement from electoral politics and full-time engagement in organisational activities might save him from future embarrassment.
Become a Mentor and Statesman: Bijoy can don the statesman’s mantle and mentor Gen next. That would give him acceptance across the political spectrum as he can act as a conscience keeper. Given his connect with the people and his political astuteness, he could be the one that Odias can look up to for sage advice.