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BJD to celebrate its 20th foundation day in Puri

In the last 20 years, BJD’s strength has grown from 4.5 lakh in 1997 to 46 lakh this year, making it one of Odisha’s most successful regional parties.

india Updated: Dec 15, 2017 09:13 IST
Debabrata Mohanty
Debabrata Mohanty
Hindustan Times, Bhubaneswar 
Biju Patnaik,Biju Janata Dal,BJD foundation day
BJD chief and Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik is the son of Biju Patnaik.(PTI File Photo)

Twenty years after Biju Patnaik’s death, the party named after the chief minister of Odisha will celebrate its 20th foundation day on December 26 not very far from the place where he was cremated.

The Biju Janata Dal, formed after the death of Patnaik in December 1997, will celebrate its foundation day in Puri for the first time since the party was floated.

It was in Swargadwar in Puri where Biju Patnaik’s mortal remains were consigned to flames in the presence of thousands of supporters and well-wishers.

The programme named Agami Odisha Vikash Samavesh is expected to attract over 30,000 party workers and will be addressed by Biju’s son and incumbent chief minister Naveen Patnaik who is expected to tell his partymen to gear up for the 2019 assembly polls.

“The foundation day would be good opportunity to talk about our achievements in the last 20 years,” said BJD MP Pratap Deb.

“CM will advise party workers how to deal with the Opposition and successfully continue the party’s work towards the growth of the state in all spheres,” said senior BJD leader Debi Prasad Mishra.

In the last 20 years, BJD’s strength has grown from 4.5 lakh in 1997 to 46 lakh this year, making it one of Odisha’s most successful regional parties.

In the first post-Independence assembly polls in 1951, the Ganatantra Parishad led by RN Singdeo bagged 31 seats. In the 1967 assembly elections, the Odisha Jana Congress led by Harekrushna Mahtab secured 26 seats. In the 1971 polls, the Utkal Congress led by Biju Patnaik received 33 seats.

However, these parties could neither capture the chief minister’s chair nor sustain themselves for long. After 2000, Odisha Gana Parishad, Odisha Jana Morcha, Sammurdha Odisha and Ama Odisha have also not lived up to the electoral expectations.

“The reason behind BJD’s long tenure is Naveen Patnaik’s image and inner-party discipline that he has managed, something that was missing among the other regional parties between 1951 and 1980. Another factor is the lack of an alternative figure who can beat Naveen’s charisma,” said Prof Satya Prakash Dash, political science professor of Sambalpur University.

First Published: Dec 15, 2017 09:09 IST