By Biswaraj Patnaik in Puri, November 3, 2017:  Super-branded Biju-disciple and veterinary doctor Damodar Rout is famous for his sudden jibes at opponents in any camp, especially when he is a bit provoked with taunts.

A freshly recruited spokesperson of the BJP in Odisha unwittingly blundered while projecting Damababu as ‘Shrikhandi’, a neuter–gender character from the great epic ‘Mahabharata’, and the most expected missile was launched by the ‘vet’ who has ceased to be one since long. He casually remarked that the lady was making such comments as come from ‘man-deserting Anganwadi workers’- probably meaning irresponsible single women who have no sense of life or relationship.

The BJP army, looking for an opportunity, grabbed the occasion and raised hell over the ‘Anganwadi’ rebuff so much so that the simple matter gained proportions of a political issue irking many an intellectual no end. An all-woman rally was organised to make life of the minister miserable with crazy demands for his resignation after a tight apology tendered in public.

Damababu, the seasoned, thick-skinned politician that he is, did not give a damn as he knows pretty well that in case the smoke developed into fire, would hardly do him any damage as he is in the ultimate phase of his political career. He has nothing left to lose.

All the same, the BJP men and women made so much noise by roping in the Anganwadi worker community to their side that Damababu had to give in with kind of an apologetic note. “I am sorry if I have hurt the sentiments of any person or community anywhere. But I did not mean what the BJP leaders are making out of my remarks,” he said. “The BJP spokeswoman should have been responsibly decent. She uses allusions that would ignite fury even in a snail!”

As the latest news goes, the heat has subsided but the ‘non-issue’ is not completely gone. All this obviously indicates the BJP is somehow or the other afraid of BJD’s undiminishing popularity across the state. Hence the desperate move to bring infamy to BJD and make some gain anyway. They are too aware that the ‘Modi magic’ has never been a factor in Odisha; and that Amit Shah has already played spoilsport for the party by being a crude loudmouth.

So the BJP is out to play all possible tricks to tarnish Naveen’s image that gets boosted from time to time by surveys of popular newspapers and magazines. Despite a few horribly self-serving fellows in the BJD fold, the party has managed to keep the cadres in perfect order. And interestingly, as latest study shows, the young voters of Odisha relate to Naveen much more than the legendary BijuPatnaik who is a mere image to most of them. For that matter even Mahatma Gandhi has been reduced to an ‘idea only’ among the youth of today perpetually busy devoting precious time to ‘Facebook’ and ‘Whatsapp’more than to any other human activity of worth.

So, as of today, the BJD seems to enjoy extreme political supremacy over other political camps despite countless strategic strokes by the BJP battle masters. Seasoned observers say if Amit Shah had not happened to BJP, Odisha would have fallen into the saffron hands with sincere efforts. But tha

t the BJP boss has messed up everywhere and that for Odisha they have no acceptable face to lead, BJP is only wasting time in the state.

The party has to work much harder, using all combined forces on the extreme overdrive to nullify the Naveen magic. First of all, an adorable leader has to be put up. Then extinguish the internal fire ignited by Bijay Mahapatra and Dilip Ray for having been ignored most offendingly. The state presidents successively have failed to add even a little lustre or gleam to the outfit.

And lastly, the developments elsewhere have badly dampened the spirit of the saffron workers: Amit Shah’s son being in trouble and Ram Jethamalini’s most formidable missiles being launched on a regular basis. The anti-BJP camps across the country have taken huge advantage of the unfortunate situation created by BJP masters, at a time when some experts believe that there shall be no other opportunity for India to improve overall without Modi at the helm. But that the Modi magic has fallen flat in Odisha before the ‘Naveen mystique’ is a fact hardly disputable.

Lately, to add to the woes of the BJP, two murder-accused criminals have entangled Golakh Mohapatra, the party spokesperson, by claiming to have been helped by the leader in escaping to a safer BJP-ruled haven and remain hidden there without worry. The criminals may be lying to divert attention, but the fact that Uttarakhand capital Dehradun is a BJP bastion.

Further, unless specifically supported, the ordinary creatures couldn’t have availed the state guest house hospitality meant only for important government officials. Not surprisingly, the BJD has stuck to the logic that only a BJP-to-BJP connection alone can cause this situation. In all likelihood, the police might serve a summon on Golakh Mohapatra for routine interrogation.

The BJP outfit has lost wits and cool over the ‘out of the blue’ bombshell. Golakh Mahapatra has trashed the charges as insanely baseless. Most of the BJP people say it’s only a mean conspiracy hatched by some BJD brains. But BJD spokesperson Pratap Keshari Deb quips, “Instead of blaming the Ganjam SP and dragging BJD into it, Golak Mohapatra should cooperate with the police so that the truth is revealed soon.”

Beisdes, he says the needle of suspicion points towards Mohapatra as the prime accused and his cohort have named him while being nabbed from the State Guest House in Dehradun. Dev says that without the involvement of an influential BJP leader, booking rooms for worthlessly ordinary criminals at the State Guest House would never be possible.

BJP is into even bigger trouble by having MPs like Sangeet Som dismissing the world famous and UNESCO-recognised Taj Mahal as a monument of tourist attraction   as it was built by Muslims and exploiting Hindu craftsmen and sculptors. Binay Katyar of all people went a step further to claim that the ‘Taj Mahal’ has been built by demolishing a ‘Shiva’ temple. It was called ‘Tejo Mahal’ and not Taj Mahal ever.

Lastly, the UP chief minister did the most shameful thing by having disliked ‘Taj Mahal’ sculptures being given to state guests as memento. He says a copy of the ‘Bhagwat Geeta’ would be a more fitting memento from Indians. These mad moves and utterances by BJP honchos have hurt nearly all Indians who take pride in great historical monuments that have ensured berths for the country in the grand tourist map of the planet. The sad story doesn’t end there.

Chief Minister of UP Yogi Adityanath has done more hurt to the country. He has been on a crazy visual ‘saffronisation spree’ across the state. All important buildings and structures are being coated with saffron paint including the Lal Bahadur Shashtri Bhawan, which houses the chief minister’s office.

Everything from the outer walls to the terrace of the building, popularly known as the Annexe, is being painted ‘saffron’; inside, the towel that covers the CM’s chair and the tablecloth are also saffron. That’s being communal and socially inappropriate. The structure houses offices of the chief secretary and other senior bureaucrats who feel uncomfortably saffroncated. The building had a white coating ever since time immemorial and elegantly so. While successive governments have shown their own colour bias in government books and functions, the Shashtri Bhavan was never touched once.

The saffron invasion does not end there. The UP chief minister recently did flag off a fleet of 50 buses painted saffron. The stage for the inauguration was decorated with saffron-coloured curtains and the buses were decorated with saffron-coloured balloons. Besides all this, the education department had distributed saffron school bags in government primary schools, to replace the ones that featured former CM Akhilesh Yadav’s photograph. Even the booklets that were distributed to mark ‘100 days’ and ‘six months’ of the ‘Yogi administration’ were also saffron in colour.  No wonder, the information diary of the state government, which contains details of various officials, is also saffron.

For sure, something wrong is happening across the BJP community. Hardcore BJP founders including Advani and biggies like Jashwant Sinha et al have condemned such mad tricks which they know would ostracise the BJP community soon as rabidly and unforgivably communal in an otherwise highly respected ‘secular’ India.

BJP lost in Goa and Manipur on the popularity front. The Delhi story was stunning.  Odisha is still invincible BJD kingdom. But the BJP thinkers and strategists keep committing such blunders as to be ousted more easily than would have been usual. They need to be more sensitive to the psyche of the thinking Indian. There is still enough time in hand to mend ways, or else, irreparable damage would be happening to BJP across the states, save a very select few!