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Can BJP ‘Really’ Make Inroads Into Naveen Patnaik’s Odisha?

With Amit Shah exuding confidence in his recent trip to Odisha saying BJP will form the government in the state in 2024, questions are being raised if Biju Janata Dal supremo Naveen Patnaik is beatable by BJP in 2024? Political watchers dismiss Shah’s bravado saying “not possible during Naveen’s lifetime”. It’s difficult to defeat a leader like a performing chief minister like Naveen babu in 2024. He has never tasted defeat, as yet. Does BJP have one leader in the state who can match Patnaik’s stature? It is common knowledge that “Modi-Shah juggernaut isn’t all powerful enough to steamroll Patnaik’s huge popularity. This has been amply demonstrated by BJD in the panchayat and urban elections vis-a-vis BJP’s total washout in both instances. Here is the contradiction, while Modi-Patnaik politically are fighting each other at personal level they share a great equation.  Given this scenario, Amit Shah has to tread carefully to ensure BJP leaders don’t attack Patnaik personally and at the same give cadres enough ammo that keeps them charged and hopeful that BJP will be in the saddle one day.  For starters, the party has elevated Sunil Bansal to the National General Secretary position, in-charge of Odisha. He has been asked to replicate BJP’s UP victory in Odisha. Clearly, for BJP their task is cut out, to make a dent against a tall leader like Naveen babu whose popularity continues to be on the rise.