BJD strong enough to counter BJP: Naveen Patnaik

Bhubaneswar, May 4:

BJD President and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday said his party was strong enough to counter the BJP in the state.

Also hinting at a ministry reshuffle, he said many ministers had approached him with a wish that they would like to work for the party at the organisational level.

“I can assure you that we will counter it (BJP) very well. We are a very strong party. A number of ministers and others have told me they are ready to go and work in the field level,” Patnaik told reporters here.

The statement came ahead of BJP President Amit Shah’s visit to Odisha in June as part of his 95-days programme to connect with party workers at the booth level across the country.

During his tour, Shah would interact with party workers in Ganjam, the home district of the Chief Minister.

With the BJP targeting to oust the BJD, which has been in power for 17 years in the state, the BJD has planned a massive overhaul in the organisational structure.

It has already effected changes in its youth wing and formed a new trade union to woo the unorganised labourers.

Asked about a ministry reshuffle, Patnaik said: “No, I am not ruling out a possible reshuffle.”

It was a clear indication that some ministers will be assigned the task of strengthening the party at the grassroot level to counter the BJP, which is strengthening its base in the state.

The BJD has also planned to re-induct leaders expelled or suspended in the past. “The party will decide who can be taken back.”

This has raised hopes among many former BJD leaders including former Finance Ministers Prafulla Ghadai and Panchanan Kanungo and veterans Bijoy Mohapatra and Dilip Ray. Mohapatra and Ray are now in the BJP. (IANS)

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