By Nageshwar Patnaik, December 16, 2018: The BJP suffered defeat in three of its bastions – Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh assembly polls due to anti-incumbency factor despite the saffron party’s claim of the invincibility of the Modi-Shah duo.

In Chhattisgarh, poor governance and corruption were key issues, with Chief Minister Raman Singh being seen as virtually running the state through a select few favourite bureaucrats. In MP, the non-performance of party MLAs and their disconnect with the masses hurt the party. In Rajasthan, the mood had turned decidedly against Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.

In Odisha, Naveen Patnaik government is now in its 18th year and is due to face simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in the next few months. Will he face the same fate as his counterparts in Chattishgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan is a million rupee question?

Naveen attributed the defeat of BJP governments in three states largely due to agrarian issues and the failure of the Modi government to implement the recommendations of the National Farmers Commission headed by Dr M S Swaminathan.

But if the agrarian issue will be the poll plank, Naveen will face the music at the hustings as he never implemented the recommendations of State Farmers Commission appointed by him few years back,

It is another matter that the Opposition in the state is quite weak and disorganized and possibly they have yet to come out with a clear cut strategy to stop the Naveen Patnaik juggernaut that has seen him win four consecutive elections, the last of them at the height of the Narendra Modi wave which swept much of the country in 2014.

Farmers in Odisha still resort to distress sale of paddy while the Naveen Patnaik government keeps on blaming the Centre for refusing to accept the unanimous resolution passed in the state Assembly for raising the MSP of paddy to Rs 2,950.

The Naveen Patnaik headed government belatedly took a significant decision to give the share croppers their rights, but it is yet to be implemented in right earnest convincing the hapless farmers that the government is pro-farmer.

What is still worse is the fact that the BJP in it its Manifesto had promised 35% irrigation in each of the state’s 314 blocks but it has remained a pipedream with the target achieved in just 114 blocks so far, according to the data available with us.

It is needless to say that the farm sector is in the state is a complete mess and unless Naveen in the state addresses the issue with all seriousness, the resentment brewing among farmers may bulldoze his search for fifth consecutive term in the state.

It is true that Naveen’s personal popularity remains largely intact with him playing a lead role in catapulting the state in the international arena by successfully hosting World Cup Hockey this month. But the murmurs of discontent among the farmers are growing louder by the day.

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