What now looks more likely is that Baijayant Panda may float a regional political party to counter BJD by engineering an alliance with BJP in Odisha following the same formula BJD used to oust Congress from power in the State.
Since his ouster from Biju Janata Dal, everyone in Odisha is speculative
on Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda’s next political move, what would be his next move and
which party would he opt to land up in. And, if not joining any party, what
could be his next course of action? Is he planning for a new party because the
current political situation is quite similar to that of the 1997 when the Biju
Janata Dal (BJD) emerged by splitting the old Janata Dal?
Given that Panda has praised many reformative moves of the union
government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi through his columns in various
national newspapers while being critical to the state of affairs of his
erstwhile party, the BJD, it’s obvious to guess that he would embrace Bharatiya
Janata Party (BJP). Again, BJP seems to be the only option for Panda in case he
desires to join any party because the third major party, i.e. the Congress, is
facing the trend of in-terminal decline in the state since it is out of power
from the year 2000.
But, having a look at his tweets and statements over the last year, an
outspoken Jay Panda many not be taken well by BJP’s regional level players as
he would be the immediate threat to the political ambitions of Dharmendra
Pradhan, the union minister of petroleum and natural gas, who aspires to become
the chief minister of Odisha. Panda may have to face constant obstacles from Pradhan
who now controls BJP’s Odisha affairs including selection of the office
bearers, distribution of duties to its media management to strongly position
him as the only chief ministerial face for the 2019 elections.
Panda may not also like to remain subservient to the young union
minister and leave his destiny to the mercy of Pradhan by joining the BJP.
So, what now looks more likely is that Baijayant may float a regional
political party to counter BJD by engineering an alliance with BJP in the state
of Odisha following the same formula BJD used to oust Congress from power in
With discontent and anger growing in general public against the BJD led
government over the issue of corruption, bureaucratic highhandedness and
apathetic attitude of elected leaders towards ordinary people in addition to
regular incidents reflecting compromised safety of women and girls in the
state, current political situation in the State stands favourable for a
regional party provided it is effectively projected as an alternative to the
ruling BJD. In that case, Baijayant can use his family owned channel OTV for
that as is still the largest TV news channel in the state with a strong
presence across the state on all distribution channels. It’s worth remembering
that OTV made important contributions for the rise and growth of BJD over the
years to make the party the only one to rule the state for four consecutive
It’s because of his family background, the popular media his family
owns, and the image of a dynamic as well as outspoken leader, many other
leaders who have faced the same fate as Baijayant has recently in the BJD may
join the new party, if Baijayant floats it, because they are also looking for a
new platform other than the BJP and Congress.
Despite the fact that the regional leaders of BJP may not like this
idea, the common objective of replacing Naveen in the Odisha politics and his
friendly relationship with the national leadership would help Baijayant engineer
an alliance with BJP for the 2019 election in Odisha.
If it becomes reality, the combination of BJP’s growing popularity in
the state, as evident from the bygone panchayat polls, and Baijayant’s media
power can result in an unexpected political change in the state.
However, all these are again speculations and time will tell if
Baijayant is really working on the math at present to float his new party.