By-poll leads to temporary halt in BJD-BJP bonhomie

The by-poll has become a litmus test and prestige issue for Patnaik to once again prevent his longtime rival from stepping into the Odisha house. (PTI File Photo)

The ruling Biju Janata Dal(BJD) in Odisha and the BJP seem to have decided to have a temporary halt on their fresh bonhomie because of the coming crucial by-poll for Patkura assembly constituency in coastal Kendrapara district.

Both the parties are back with their pre-Lok Sabha and state assembly elections practice of trading charges against each other on different issues, particularly matters relating to the important by-election which is going to be an acid test for Bijoy Mohapatra, the BJP nominee and former BJD stalwart who had never been able to enter the state assembly despite all efforts, which include changing of political parties on numerous occasions, since his humiliating exit from the Naveen Patnaik led regional outfit nearly two decades back.

Similarly, the by-poll has also become a litmus test and prestige issue for Patnaik to once again prevent his longtime rival from stepping into the Odisha house. No wonder, the regional outfit has left no stone unturned to fulfil the party supremo’s desire.

Apart from Patnaik himself, the BJD’s list of “star campaigners” for the July 20 by-poll which was recently submitted with the EC(Election Commission) includes as many as six members of the state cabinet besides several other senior party legislators.

The first salvo in the latest BJD-BJP war of words vis-à-vis the Patkura by-election was fired by the saffron party when its general secretary and Odisha ‘pravari’(in-charge) Arun Singh charged the regional outfit of distributing currency notes among Patkura electorates to win votes.

“These activities by BJD will not work. The people of Patkura have already decided to vote for Bijoy Mohapatra and ensure victory for him with a huge margin”, Singh said in Kendrapara during a visit to the coastal district for the by-poll.

The Patnaik led party returned the salvo with a missile of its own. “It is the BJP which is having past records as well as a habit of distributing money to garner votes. They should not point fingers at the BJD”, the ruling regional outfit’s Kendrapara district president Kishore Tarei said.

Observers, nevertheless, believe that the fresh war of words between both the former allies is temporary. Both would be burying their respective hatchets and again join hands on different issues once the by-election result will be out on July 24.

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