Strong anti-incumbency in Odisha: BJP leader (Election Special)
A strong anti-incumbency mood prevails across Odisha against the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) led by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader and former union minister Jual Oram said.
"People are frustrated for many reasons...They are upset with the deteriorating law and order, increasing atrocities against women, chit fund scam, mining scam and jobs scam. Nobody is happy... farmers, youths, workers you take any one," Oram, 53, told IANS in an interview.
"The voters have realised that the BJD and the Congress are hand in glove. People are looking at the BJP as an alternative in Odisha," said Oram who is one of the BJP's national vice presidents.
The elections to Odisha's 21 Lok Sabha seats and the 147-member state assembly would be held simultaneously in two phases April 10 and 17. The BJD and Congress have 14 and six members respectively in the outgoing Lok Sabha while the BJP had none.
In the outgoing assembly, the BJD, the Congress, and the BJP have 110, 27, and six members respectively.
An opinion poll of private television channel NDTV conducted by Hansa Research released Friday predicted that the ruling BJD could get the lions share of 17 Lok Sabha seats, leaving the Congress and the BJP with mere three and one seat respectively.
Citing their internal assessments, a senior BJD leader said his party could retain the power in the state by securing as many as 123 seats.
Oram, however, said the ground reality is something else.
"There is no wave in favour of the BJD. Rather a strong positive wave prevails in favour of BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. Besides people remember the work we did when the NDA (National Democratic Alliance) was in power," he said.
The tribal leader who served as a cabinet minister of tribal affairs department from 1999-09 said: "It is evident from the large crowd seen at the two public meetings Modi addressed in Odisha Feb 11 and March 14. In my calculation the BJP would get 10-12 Lok Sabha seats and 40-50 assembly seats in the state."
"I don't think Patnaik will be voted for fourth term in the assembly," said Oram, a two time legislator and three time Lok Sabha member from Sundergarh constituency.
He lost the Lok Sabha seat to the Congress in 2009 election by a margin of 10,505 votes.
Oram is seeking election again from the same Lok Sabha seat.
While the Congress has fielded outgoing Lok Sabha member and former chief minister Hemananda Biswal against him once again, the BJD has fielded former hockey captain and member of Rajya Sabha member Dilip Tirkey.
Oram said the Congress in the state has disintegrated and a large number of its leaders are joining other parties.
The ruling BJD has been facing the problem of internal bickering as well.
On the other hand, very few people left the BJP and he said this demonstrated that his party was stronger than others.
Large numbers of leaders from other parties are also joining BJP, he said.
He also said as most of the constituencies are set to witness multi-corner contests and any party which would be worst hit is the BJD.
The BJD and the BJP, allies for 11 years, parted ways after their talks for seat-sharing in the state for Lok Sabha elections of 2009 failed.
On whether the BJP still considers BJD as a potential partner after the election, Oram said: "I do not think we will have any post poll tie up with BJD."
(Posted on 18-03-2014)