Will BJP-BJD Alliance See Change Of Fortune For Congress In Odisha?

Bhubaneswar: With the BJP and the BJD inching closer to strike a deal for a pre-poll alliance, it offers yet another opportunity to the Congress to change its fortune in Odisha politics.

The Congress saw its popularity losing ground from 2000 for various reasons. The situation worsened between 2004 and 2009, when it was mired in internal strife, squabbling among leaders, lack of leadership and dwindling resources.

Poor party organisation at ground level saw a slow but steady erosion in support base. In 2004 elections, it could muster only 38 seats in the Assembly.

But the grand old party managed to stay afloat as it won Laxmipur Talasara bypoll afterwards. In the panchayat election also, it fared better as the party came to power in 13 districts by bagging more than 300 zilla parshad seats.

When the BJD and the BJP parted ways 15 years back, it offered a golden opportunity to the Congress to swing back to fill up the vacuum of opposition party. Between 2009 and 2014, the BJD had gone from strength to strength riding on the popularity of chief minister Naveen Patnaik.

But the BJP was still grappling to find a strong foothold in the state while the Congress led UPA government was in power at the Centre. It was the suitable time for the Congress to endear itself to the voters. But the party failed to seize the opportunity to win its way back to the centrestage of the state politics as it continued to be mired in continuous internal squabbling.

The situation worsened for the Congress from 2014 with the country coming under BJP wave and the state under Naveen charm.

The Congress saw the worst setback in 2019 elections when it was pushed to third position in the state. Its tally came down single digit and in subsequent bypolls, its leaders even forfeited the deposit.

Since then, the Congress has become a party of deserters while there is no sign of new blood being infused into it despite its claim of being led by a young leader like Rahul Gandhi in the national arena.

Now that ruling BJD and opposition BJP are going to join hands again to achieve a 400 plus NDA government at the Centre, this may prove to be a do or die situation for the Congress. Will the leaders of the oldest party in the country be able to jump back to the people’s reckoning or let go what is possibly the last chance to remain relevant in state politics? Only time will tell.

Also Read: Alliance In Odisha: ‘BJD Wants Clarity, Urges BJP To Take Final Call Quickly’ – odishabytes

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