Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik (Mint)
Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik (Mint)

In Odisha, BJP grows but Naveen Patnaik’s BJD a clear winner

  • Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) made some progress in Odisha
  • In 2014, BJP won just one seat of the 21 Lok Sabha seats and rest 20 went to BJD

Bhubaneswar: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) made some progress in Odisha, a key state for its eastern rising strategy but its performance was below expectations in the state where Naveen Patnaik is set to become the chief minister for a record fifth term.

While the growth is visible with the party leading in seven Lok Sabha seats from winning just one in 2014, this number is much lower than what the party unit in the state was expecting –win in 12-14 seats. Its big catch Jay Panda who joined BJP ahead if elections too was trailing to his BJD rival Anubhav Mohanty. However, Aparajita Sarangi, who quit her job as a joint secretary in the central government to join BJP is leading in Bhubaneswar Lok Sabha seat.

Similarly, BJP was leading in 22 assembly segments as against 111 by the BJD, again way below the magic number of 74 to form the state government. The BJP leadership was talking about a double engine government – meaning the saffron party will form both at the centre as well as in the eastern state. Odisha counted votes for all 21 Lok Sabha seats and 146 assembly seats. One assembly seat election has been delayed after a candidate died and subsequently due to cyclone Fani.

Catch all the live updates here: Lok Sabha Election Results 2019

“BJP has done exceedingly well in the country. In Odisha we were expecting a better outcome but will duly assess the verdict," said state BJP leader Pratap Mihsra. “In 2014, we had just one seat and a win in seven is certainly a big jump," added Jatin Mohanty, secretary, of the party’s state unit.

Mohanty said the focus of central leadership and consistent work helped BJP grow in Odisha but did confess that more work needs to be put on the ground more so after the results. “The counting is still on and you will see our vote percentage growing when the final results are announced late this evening," he said. In 2014, BJP had a vote share of 18% in the assembly poolls.

Experts and common people said that the results show that the split voting has not happened across the state and is limited to only few pockets and that too in the tribal dominated western Odisha where BJP candidates are doing better than BJD in Lok Sabha seats.

“Yes, BJP has grown but BJD is the clear winner in the state both in assembly and Lok Sabha segments," said Jayant Mohapatra, a political analyst. He said after four terms (19 years of rule) if a party was successful in negating anti-incumbency and an opposition like BJP then credit must go to BJD and its leadership.

BJD leaders concur. The regional party said four strategies helped the party in stopping Modi wave. “Brand Naveen and its popularity, women voters, social welfare scheme and the comprehensive farmer financial benefit scheme Kalia," said Rana Pratap Patra, president of BJD’s students and youth wing.

“He said Patnaik’s simple lifestyle and less talk and more work principle make him more acceptable," Patra said as a team of drummers get ready to celebrate the party’s victory at the BJD office. But true to his personality, Patnaik’s residence – Naveen Niwas was without any flutter and party workers said he is unlikely to come to the party office to celebrate.



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