Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday said he had doubts about the BJP’s target of winning 120 of the 147 seats in the 2019 state Assembly polls. Asked about the ‘Mission-120′ goal, set by BJP president Amit Shah for Odisha, he told reporters, “I doubt very much whether they (BJP) will get so many seats.” Patnaik’s statement came shortly before Shah’s arrival in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday. Countering the remark, BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra said it was the people of Odisha who had now developed doubts in the chief minister.
“The people of the state are fed up with backwardness, misrule and corruption during the BJD rule and they are eagerly waiting for a taste of the good governance of the BJP, whose popularity is growing under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” he added.
Union minister and senior BJP leader Prakash Javadekar, who also arrived here to take part in the programmes of Shah, said the saffron party’s mission for the 2019 general elections would be successful in Odisha.
“Enough is enough,” he said, adding, “The people of Odisha are disillusioned with the BJD rule of the last 17 years and are now keen to bring about a change in order to be a part of the development process.”
The Union human resource development minister said the BJP’s impressive performance in seven backward districts of Odisha in the rural bodies’ polls earlier this year showed that the support for the party was growing in the state and added that Shah’s three-day visit would provide fresh energy to the party workers for the next Assembly polls.
Reacting to Patnaik’s comments, Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said, “I welcome his doubts and compliment him…. It is the people of the state who will decide the outcome of the next election.”
On Tuesday, Pradhan had voiced confidence that the BJP would achieve its goal of winning 120 of the 147 Assembly seats in Odisha.
“He (Shah) has entrusted the job of achieving this goal with lakhs of party workers in the 36,000 booths across Odisha. The target would certainly be met,” he had said.