On Friday, BJP president Amit Shah received a rousing welcome that included two garlands made of lotuses, the party symbol. One had 21 flowers to symbolise the parliamentary seats in Odisha, the other had 147, the number of assembly seats. Today, it is Prime Minister Narendra Modi's turn, the man whose credibility, confidence and faith among the people, in the words of Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, "is at Himalayan top".
Soon after landing at the airport, PM Modi drove straight to Raj Bhavan in a convoy of Range Rover SUVs, at times leaning out of the vehicle to wave at cheering supporters who had lined up along the route to welcome him. On occasions, he also got off the vehicle to walk up to them. At the venue, he was received by BJP president Amit Shah.
"I am witnessing so much vigour in BJP's workers of Odisha. This meeting can be proven as a milestone in the upcoming election of Odisha," said Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh.
Odisha, where the BJP had won just one of the 21 seats in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, is at the heart of the BJP's "Look-East" policy. The first sign that this was within the realm of possibility came in February when the party won 300 seats in the panchayat elections as against the ruling BJD's 400 seats. The main opposition party, the Congress was left with less than 100 seats.