In BJD bastion, a shift of power in Odisha BJP

In BJD bastion, a shift of power in Odisha BJP
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Bhubaneswar: April 22: At a time when the Bharatiya Janata Party is trying hard to make inroads in Odisha, a Biju Janata Dal (BJD) bastion, it seems there has been a power shift in the state unit of the saffron party.

Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan was considered the chief ministerial face of BJP in the coastal state. However, it appears that the party is shifting its focus to project former IAS officer Aparajita Sarangi as the new face of BJP.

Dharmendra Pradhan did not find any place in the large hoardings projecting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP’s Bhubaneswar Lok Sabha candidate Aparajita Sarangi in the capital city of Odisha.

Even though the state unit has been showing off a united face led by Pradhan, Sarangi is believed to be poles apart.

Sarangi, a Bihar born 1994-batch Odisha cadre IAS officer, joined the saffron party in November last year after taking voluntary retirement from her job. She was serving as joint secretary (MGNREGA) in the Union Ministry of Rural Development.

Sarangi is married to Santosh Sarangi, Odisha cadre IAS officer of the same batch. Santosh Sarangi is still in the service and posted at the Centre.

Aparajita, who is contesting from Bhubaneswar Lok Sabha seat, has already served as the commissioner of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation and Khurdha district collector. She was also School and Mass Education and Panchayati Raj secretary in the Odisha government.

The shift of focus of BJP is attributed to a prospect where the saffron party is looking to forge an alliance with the Naveen Patnaik’s BJD if the BJP does not secure a majority at the Centre.

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Patnaik has already stated that no political party would get a majority at the Centre and his party will play a key role in the formation of the government.

However, the BJP said there was no power shift within the party in Odisha.

A senior BJP leader, who does not wish to be quoted, said that it’s not only Aparajita Sarangi, many candidates across the state have put up their posters with only Narendra Modi and there is nothing new to it.

“If there has been a shift of power, Dharmendra Pradhan would not have campaigned across the state for the party. It should have been Aparajita Sarangi,” he added.

Elections are being held in four phases in Odisha. (IANS)