Elections 2019: Will Naveen Patnaik push back Modi juggernaut?

As five of Odisha’s 21 Lok Sabha seats vote today, Naveen Patnaik’s BJD is facing a larger and more aggressive BJP that is determined to wrest the state. Assembly elections to 147 seats are also being held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha polls in four phases till 29 April. Mint meets the key players in Odisha’s electoral battle

Elections 2019: Congress watches as BJP throws challenge at BJD

Twenty years after its best electoral performance in Odisha, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is hoping to resurrect itself in the Lok Sabha and assembly elections. The party is making a strong push in a state where Biju Janata Dal leader and Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik remains a dominant force after nearly two decades in power. With Congress failing to rise to the challenge, the BJP is trying to woo voters with a development message.

“This is the first time any political party has managed to challenge the electoral strength of Patnaik. BJP has succeeded in delinking the assembly and Lok Sabha polls (being held simultaneously). While Patnaik is a major player in state politics, the BJP leadership has convinced voters that nationally it is Prime Minister Narendra Modi who counts. BJD cannot play a national role in politics," said a senior BJP leader. (Read more here)

Development, not dole, is BJP promise: Dharmendra Pradhan

Odisha is a laboratory of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pro-poor policies, said Pradhan, adding that the BJP in Odisha is like the Ganga and people are joining it to cleanse themselves. (Read more here)

Will support any govt that focuses on Odisha, says BJD’s Mahtab

Party veteran and senior leader Bhartruhari Mahtab says BJD will win but concedes that an aggressive BJP has grown stronger and is in direct fight with the BJD. (Read more here)

Elections 2019: Electoral politics is a new posting for this former bureaucrat

People say a daughter-in-law has the responsibility to set the mother-in-law’s house right, and I want to set the house right," says Aparajita Sarangi, a 1994 batch IAS officer who quit civil services five months ago to contest from the Bhubaneswar Lok Sabha constituency as a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate.

Born in Bihar, she entered the civil service from the Odisha cadre, hence the daughter-in-law analogy she often mentions. Sarangi has worked as a bureaucrat for nearly 25 years, 19 of which were in the state. She was the collector of four districts before heading the state’s women empowerment mission.(Read more here)

Get latest election news and live updates on Elections 2019 here