The BJP leadership in Odisha has decided to strengthen its cadre after suffering heavy defeats in both rural and urban polls in the state recently. They are now aiming to restore pride in the 2024 general election.
As part of this strategy to galvanise the party cadres, 10 Union ministers will visit 10 districts of the state where the Aspirational Districts Programme has been launched. Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the programme in 2018 to quickly and effectively transform the 112 most under-developed districts in the country.
The broad contours of the programme are convergence of central and state schemes and effective implementation of these schemes. The districts are encouraged to develop and replicate best practices that drive socio-economic transformation.
Union minister Sanjeev Kumar Balyan reached Koraput on Tuesday to oversee the various works being executed under the Aspirational Districts Programme.
Addressing a media meet here, state BJP general secretary Golak Chandra Mohapatra said: “Prime Minister Narendra Modi is focusing on Odisha’s development. As part of that strategy, central ministers are visiting the state. Nearly 10 ministers including Dharmendra Pradhan will visit the state and they will conclude their visit by April 20. After the visit, they will submit their report to the Centre.”
Sources said the BJP is taking Odisha seriously as it feels the party can do well here and can win at least 10 Lok Sabha seats from the state. But in the recently concluded urban and panchayat elections, it was trounced by the ruling party which has left the leaders worried.
In 2019, the party bagged eight out of 21 Lok Sabha seats in Odisha. While the BJD won 12 seats, the Congress bagged only one Lok Sabha seat.
Mohapatra said: “During their visit, the central ministers will talk to different stakeholders including the beneficiaries of different schemes, local public representatives, MLAs, MPs, sarpanchs. The ministers will also hold meetings with the local party leaders to know the ground realities. The Aspirational Districts Programme is aimed at localising Sustainable Development Goals, leading to the progress of the nation.”
The BJP sources said the visits are a part of the BJP’s social justice fortnight programme that began on April 7 across the nation. The aim is to connect with the Dalit and other backward and deprived people of the society.
The party will also get feedback of the beneficiaries of 14 programmes being run by the central government at the local level.
Mohapatra said that Pradhan will visit the state on April 13 and stay till April 16 to review the works of central schemes in Dhenkanal district.
Union minister Ashwini Vaishnaw will go to Malkangiri, Arjun Munda to Kalahandi, Prahlad Singh Patel to Gajpati, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti to Bolangir, Prof Satya Pal Singh Baghel to Nuapada, Shobha Karandlaje to Nabarangpur, Som Parkash to Raygada and Dr Subhas Sarkar will visit Kandhamal district.
Sources said Union minister Smriti Irani is set to visit the state on Wednesday.