TNI Bureau: The political pundits in Odisha stand confused and amused with the sudden aggression adopted by BJD leader VK Pandian, who launched an offensive against Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who is yet to react to this scathing attack.
With repeated attacks on Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, 5T Chairman VK Pandian, sought to set the political stage in Odisha on fire. Several theories are being floated or discussed with this latest development. Is it a sign of end of tacit understanding between BJD and BJP? Is it a personal war between Pandian and Dharmendra? Or, there is more to something than meets the eyes?
Let’s discuss the possible reasons…
A large section of people believe that Pandian is upset with Dharmendra and sees him as a big opponent and critic like his ‘political guru’ Naveen Patnaik.
It can be recalled that it was Dharmendra, who had called Pandian a ‘Clerk’ or ‘Gumasta’. Those who know Pandian, are aware that he remains unforgiving. That could be the reason why Pandian has chosen Dharmendra to vent his anger.
And, Pandian won’t forget the 2018 episode when cow dung was hurled at his official residence in Bhubaneswar. Dharmendra Pradhan was extremely powerful then and there was none in Odisha BJP who could take any decision without his consent. It’s obvious for Pandian to take that incident on a personal level.
There was a time when both the leaders shared “good rapport” as per the unverified political analysis. But, now it seems that both are at daggers drawn and will be baying for each other’s blood in the run up to 2024 polls.
Pandian probably chose to attack Dharmendra now on a personal belief that the BJP leader does not enjoy full control of Odisha BJP as he did before.
A Message to Leaders and Workers:
While Jay Panda, Aparajita Sarangi and all other BJP leaders remained soft targets for BJD Media and Social Media cells as well as their workers and leaders, they always chose not to be very critical of Dharmendra Pradhan. Somehow, there was a perception in BJD circle that Dharmendra remains strong and powerful leader and he can’t be criticised so easily.
While BJD is gearing up for its biggest challenge since 2000, Pandian has probably decided to end that perception forever and rejuvenate the party and leaders and workers with the one-point agenda – ‘attack is the best form of defence’ to beat any anti-incumbency, undercurrent or infighting.
Pandian probably wants to send a strong message to the BJD leaders and workers too that he won’t forgive those who choose to align with Dharmendra in future.
Making Dharmendra Relevant in Odisha Politics:
There is another theory that’s gaining momentum, but the narrative is not very strong. By praising Jual Oram and Bishweswar Tudu while criticising Dharmendra, Pandian probably sent a big message to the common people as well as the political pundits – “Dharmendra remains the tallest leader of Odisha BJP” so that major threats like Aparajita and Jay Panda don’t grow much in Odisha politics.
Some believe that Pandian probably sought to put the leadership debate to rest, the same strategy adopted earlier by Pranab Prakash Das and Sasmit Patra on X. The BJD leadership consistently tried to give a message that Dharmendra remains the only leader of the BJP in Odisha, but it did not work well.
If Pandian is adopting this same strategy aggressively, the Team DP will have much to rejoice, as they will get ample opportunity to showcase his work and achievements whatever available.
Several theories will keep floating without any confirmation. But, this move will rejuvenate Dharmendra Pradhan’s political ambitions.
As we can see, Aparajita Sarangi and Sambit Patra have maintained a stoic silence on issues related to Odisha and are focusing more on their own constituencies. If Dharmendra breaks his silence and start responding to Pandian directly or through his team, the battle would turn interesting.