All eyes on outcome of 147 Assembly, 21 LS seats
The electoral fortune of 196 Lok Sabha and 1420 Assembly candidates in Odisha will be decided tomorrow as counting begins at 64 centres amid a three-tier security cover.
Chief Electoral Office(CEO) sources here said while the counting of the Assembly election will commence at 0800 hrs for the 147 seats, that for the 21 Lok Sabha seats will be taken up in the afternoon.
At least 12,000 employees will be pressed into service for counting spread over 160 halls in the state and the result of the Assembly election is expected to come from afternoon.
The authority, as a precautionary measure, put barricade about 100 meters form the counting hall to ensure a smooth counting and avoid any untoward problem.
Tomorrow's counting will decide the fate of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik whose Biju Janata Dal(BJD) is all set to retain power for the fourth time in a row, creating a record in the political history of Odisha.
It was only J B Patnaik of Congress who ruled the state for long 14 years but not in a row. The BJD, led by Mr Naveen Patnaik who has already ruled the state for 14 years, from 2000 to 2014, will set a new record to remain in power for more than 14 years, if his BJD is again voted to power for the fourth consecutive time.
Prominent political leaders from Congress whose electoral fortunes will be known tomorrow are Union Minister Srikant Jena from Balasore Lok Sabha seat, two former Congress CMs--Giridhar Gamang and Hemananda Biswal--who have contested the Koraput and Sundargarh Lok Sabha seat respectively, former Union ministers Bhakta Charan Das(Kalahandi Lok Sabha seat) and Chandra Sekhar Sahu(Berhampur Lok Sabha seat).
In the last Lok Sabha elections, the ruling BJD in the state won 14 seats,the Congress six and the CPI, which entered into seat sharing adjustment with the BJD, won one seat.
This time the ruling BJD has denied ticket to six MPs and retained eight to seek re-elections while the Congress has allowed all its six MPs to contest the elections.The CPI MP from Jagatsinghpur, however, switched over his loyalty to Congress and contested the election.
In the 2009 Assembly elections,the ruling BJD captured 103 seats while the Congress won 27 seats,the BJP got six, NCP 4 and the CPI one. Independents managed to win six seats. In 2013, all the four NCP MLAs quit the party and joined the BJD, taking the total strength of the BJD to 107.
Out of 19 council of ministers of the Naveen Patnaik government, two have been elected to Rajya Sabha and the rest 17 ministers had contested the elections this time besides, the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker.
Other important figures whose electoral fortune will be decided tomorrow are former Union ministers Juel Oram, Dillip Ray(BJP) and former Union Minister Arjun Charan Sethy(BJD).
The ruling BJD has allowed three of its sitting Rajya Sabha members to contest the elections. They are Dillip Tirkey for Sundargarh Lok Sabha seat, Rabi Narayan Mohapatra and Sashi Bhusan Behera who have contested the Assembly elections.
Former minister and senior BJD leader A U Singdeo, who was elected to Rajya Sabha, however, resigned and contested the Bolangir Assembly seat.
(Posted on 16-05-2014)