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A buzz here and a lull there

- Mood at headquarters of political parties reflects their recent poll performance

Bhubaneswar, June 16: The state of affairs at the headquarters of political parties here helps one identify the victor from the vanquished in the recently concluded general election.

As one walks into the Congress office here, a spell of gloom is evident everywhere. Routed in the polls, the office of the principal Opposition party at Master Canteen Square looks deserted. No one is there to greet the occasional visitor even as a handful of employees struggle to keep the show going at the headquarters of the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC).

On the PCC premises, lies the office of the Youth Congress president. However, there is none to clean the bushes growing behind it. This has been the state of affairs for the past one month.

“During election time, the party office was buzzing with activity. Now with the party completely routed and the UPA out of power, the workers are demoralised. They have lost the confidence that the party will make a comeback in future,” said a senior party worker.

Money is also a big problem for the party. The PCC has no corpus funds, it mainly depends on the paltry sum provided by the AICC.

“The party office has 17 employees. The AICC gives a paltry Rs 2 lakh per month. The money is used to pay the staff and clear electricity dues, paper bill and other maintenance charges,” a source said.

A move is under way to cut down on expenses.

Asked about the prevailing situation, PCC president Jayadev Jena said: “I am coming regularly to the office along with my colleagues. I have spent from my pocket to buy furniture worth Rs 5 lakh. Repair work at the party office has also been taken up. We have cleared all pending bills.”

However, Jena admitted that the number of leaders coming to the party office had dwindled.

“While leaders are still coming to the office, not many visit the ruling BJD office,” Jena quipped.

Aware that party cadres were demoralised, former Union minister Ajay Maken, who was in Odisha last week, tried to boost the morale of party leaders.

A picture in contrast is the office of the BJD. The buzz at the office shows that the party has won 117 of the 147 Assembly seats. The leaders, however, prefers to skip the party office in favour of Naveen Nivas, which is chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s residence.

“It has become meaningless to go to the party office. It is better to meet Naveen directly and spend time there,” said a senior BJD leader.

When The Telegraph visited the BJD office, 48-year-old Babuli Mishra, chief of the party’s Bhubaneswar district unit, was present. He was busy reading newspapers and talking to friends on his mobile. “You won’t find anyone here at the moment. It is my practice to come to the party office everyday and spend a few hours,” Mishra said.

Narendra Swain, general secretary, is another regular visitor to the party office.

In the BJP office, it is activity as usual.

“As two Odia ministers in Modi’s cabinet recently visited the office, the cadres are upbeat. We also keep organising some or the other activity at the party office,” said BJD senior leader Sajjan Sharma.