Bhubaneswar: RSS leaders in the state are quite unhappy over the way the state BJP leadership is conducting itself during this election time.
Top leaders of the RSS are going to meet the BJP Sangathan Mantri (Organising Secretary) Manas Mohanty and Paschim Pranta Sangathan Mantri ( Organising Secretary-Western) by this weekend to discuss about the situation arised due to utter neglect of the RSS cadres by the state BJP.
The RSS ranks and files are annoyed over the way the tickets are being distributed for the Lok Sabha and State assembly elections. Particularly, the way Subash Chouhan, a RSS leader of 30 years, was denied a ticket has upset them terribly.
Chouhan had finished second in Bargarh Lok Sabha seat in the last elections by polling a massive 3, 72,052 votes. He had lost the election by a small margin of 11, 178 votes. His re-nomination was out of question. However, he was denied a ticket and a reluctant Suresh Pujhari was nominated in his place. In a quick development, Chouhan has quit the party and joined the ruling BJD.
The BJP party has ignored the claim of Panchanan Rout, a former Sangathan Mahamantri, for Bhandaripokhari assembly seat. Rout was at the helm of the BJP’s party affairs in Odisha for over 9 years between 2004 and 2013. Denying him a ticket has hurt the RSS core leaders.
Similarly, the party has replaced Debanand Mohapatra with new entrant Pitambar Acharya in Hinjli, the constituency from where chief minister is contesting for the five time after four successful victories. Debananda, a leader from RSS background, had been contesting against Naveen since 2000. What is surprising many is that Pitamabar, an advocate practicing in the Odisha High Court in Cuttack is an outsider in the constituency.
Sukanta Panigrahi, a BJP leader with long RSS background, has also been deprived of contesting from Kandhamal Lok Sabha seat. What is worse is that the party has nominated Kharavela Swain, a vituperate critic of the RSS, in his place. Swain, who represented Balasore as BJP MP consecutively twice in 13th and 14th Lok Sabha, had left the party when denied a ticket in 2009 and later formed his own party Utkal Bharat in 2012. Swain had made serious allegations against the RSS organization and its leaders when he left the party then. Swain has joined back only a couple of days back and got the ticket for Kandhamal immediately.
Ironically, BJP, which is attacking the Naveen Patnaik government on mining scam, is trying to rope in Kusha Apat, a mines operator with dubious track record to field in Champua assembly seat. And, in its penchant for Apat, the party is ignoring the claim of Murali Sharma, a second generation RSS leader who has been nursing the constituency for long.
The RSS leaders are, now, seething in anger that the election prospects, which was quite bright, has been squandered by the state BJP leadership. What is worrying them is that many top BJP leaders are deserting the party. Raj Kishore Das, a top leader of Mayurbhanj, has resigned from party and joined BJD on being denied a ticket. Das, who had lost the last assembly election from Morada constituency by a small margin in 2014, had played a key role in winning 49 of 56 Zilla Parisad seats in 2017 Panchayat elections to for the Zilla Parisad in the district.
Interestingly, Chouhan and Das have heaped the blame for the disruption in the ticket distribution on union petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan. Chouhan has said that it is a well designed conspiracy against the leaders with RSS background. It is well known to all in the state that Pradhan is taking the final call when it comes to select candidates for Lok Sabha and assembly seats.
The RSS, in fact, not active in the electioneering this time.
India Whispers overheard that the there is no directives from the Nagpur for Odisha RSS so far as the general elections are concerned.
During the last Lok Sabha election in 2014, RSS leaders and cadres were in the forefront of the electioneering. Over 1800 RSS leaders and cadres from Odisha had fanned out across the country to campaign for BJP candidates. It was before four month of the nation to go for the polls, the RSS had prepared its cadres for the showdown.
“ We are wondering, how come that the RSS is sitting quite this time round”, a top RSS leader told India Whispers.