Bhubaneswar: The marathon run up to the ticket distribution for the BJP seats is finally over. Besides leaving a bitter taste in the mouths of many of the aspirants, the ticket distribution has seen a wide chasm developing between the RSS and the State BJP Unit. The early signs were apparent that all was not well between them when Subash Chauhan was denied the Bargarh Parliamentary ticket despite being the most eligible candidate. After the bitter words of war, the Sangh had tried to intervene but to no avail. Insider sources say that the Sangh and its members have become an anathema for the ruling sultan of the BJP, Dharmendra Pradhan.
Chauhan denial was followed by a string of other shockers which culminated when Shyam Behera, a veteran RSS man was denied the ticket in the Basta Assembly constituency and Pradhan instead chose Raghu Mohanty.
Eyebrows were raised when Devanand Mohapatra, Sukant Panigrahi, Panchanan Rout, Raju Dash, Amiya Dash and scores of other aspirants with RSS or its affiliates VHP and Bajrang Dal links being hustled out. It seems in the selection committee meetings, whenever the name of a RSS man cropped up, it was summarily rejected by Dharmendra Pradhan. Surprisingly, the RSS aspirants were replaced with candidates who were either reluctant to contest or who had just jumped the wagon.
The icing on the cake was when Kharavela Swain was given the Phulbani ticket. The Sangh was shocked at the re-induction of Swain, as he had given very harsh parting comments on the Sangh when he had exited the party. In fact he had called the RSS as a group of homosexuals and pansies. Other rabid Sangh haters, who had public record of berating the RSS, were practically doled out tickets.
While there was a general uprising among the different district units of the Sangh, a section of the Swaymsevaks from various Sakhas in the Capital city had met the top honchos at the Sangh Karyalaya. The top men had expressed their helplessness and had thrown up their hands. What was shocking was that the top man of the Sangh asked the Swaymsevaks to vote according to their conscience and said that there was no diktat from the Sangh to vote for the BJP.
During the 2104 elections, 1800 volunteers had been sent from Odisha to different parts of the country to campaign for Modi. In Varanasi itself, more than 80 pracharaks from Odisha were deployed for various activities. This election, not a single person has gone from Odisha. It seems that there is a tacit instruction from Nagpur House for these elections.
The underlying support of the RSS is very important for the BJP in many of the constituencies. Besides having a very large member and sympathizer base, the Swaymsevaks play a very important role in campaigning, fund distribution and booth management.