The Congress and BJD on Tuesday rejected Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s assertion that the BJP will form the next government in Odisha. During a visit to the state on Monday, the senior BJP leader expressed confidence that the party will form government at the Centre and in Odisha after the next Lok Sabha and Assembly elections respectively, which are due in 2024.
Before the 2019 Assembly polls, the saffron party had claimed that it would win more than 120 seats in the 147-member House. However, it finally bagged 23 seats. The BJD and the Congress, on the other hand, secured 112 and nine seats respectively.
After Shah’s claim, BJD and Congress leaders sought to remind him of his party’s “120 plus” mission in the previous Assembly election. “It is nothing but daydreaming. No party including the BJP can come to power in Odisha as long as Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik remains BJD president,” said Sudam Marndi, senior leader of the state’s ruling party.
“Everybody knows what was the outcome of the BJP’s 120 plus mission in Odisha,” he said. Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Sarat Pattnayak claimed that the BJP will fare worse this time than its 2019 election performance due to the Centre’s alleged anti-people policies.
“The BJP has been speaking about the 120 plus mission. They should first make it clear whether the BJP alone will get 120 Assembly seats or the BJD and BJP together will achieve this number,” Pattnayak said.
He asserted that the BJD and the BJP are two sides of the same coin. “The BJD supports all policies of the BJP but pretends to be fighting with the saffron party,” the Congress leader said. The BJD had snapped its 11-year-old alliance with the BJP in 2009.
(With PTI inputs)