Following discussions of an alliance, the Bhartiya Janata party (BJP) and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) are presently embroiled in a heated battle for 21 parliamentary constituencies (PCs) and 147 assembly constituencies (ACs) in Odisha. What elements are driving the odisha contest?

 Sarat Rout has never been more thrilled. The long-time bjp worker from the Nilagiri assembly constituency, which falls under the Balasore lok sabha seat in northern odisha, is certain that his party would upset the BJD applecart and come to power on its own for the first time in the state. "When Modi ji invited the people to the bjp government's swearing-in ceremony on june 10 during his election rally in Berhampur on june 6, it was not only a brag. Canny politician that he is, he has stuck his neck out and forecast a victory for the party because he has read the mood of the people and their desire for change," he adds.

Across the state, bjp workers are enthusiastic. They are sweating it out under the scorching May sun because they believe the party has a good chance of winning the assembly elections this time, as well as greatly improving on its current record of eight out of 21 legislative seats in the state. And the main reason for the enthusiasm among bjp cadres is Modi's aggressive tone and tenor while campaigning in the state, which has dispelled the widely held belief that the party has a close relationship with the ruling BJD.

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