Clean sweep for BJD in LS, Assly polls in Odisha
It was a clean sweep that no political observers predicted for the ruling BJD government in Odisha when the party under the leadership of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik established a landslide victory in the 2014 election.
The BJD romped home with a stupendous victory for the fourth time in a row in the State Assembly, surpassing all electoral records of the state as no political party in the past had ruled the state for the fourth time consecutively.
Out of 147 Assembly seats and 21 Lok Sabha seats, the BJD candidates succeeded in garnering 117 Assembly seats and 20 Lok Sabha seats, a record which the J B Patnaik government in Odisha created in both 1980 and 1984 simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and Assembly in the state.
The election results indicated that the charismatic leadership of Naveen Patnaik could put a brake to the nationwide Modi wave in the state and demoralised the major Opposition Congress which was routed in the Lok Sabha election and satisfied with only 16 seats, about 11 less than what the party had won in the last Assembly election.
All the six sitting MPs, including Union Minister Srikant Jena, former Union Minister Bakta Charan Das and former chief minister Hemananda Biswal were defeated miserably in the Lok Sabha hustings despite a high voltage campaign meeting addressed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son and vice-president Rahul Gandhi.
The BJP, which was routed in the last Lok Sabha elections and got only six seats in the 2009 Assembly elections, managed to wrest the Sundargarh Lok Sabha seat held by former Congress chief minister Hemananda Biswal and reach the just double figure of 10 seats in the 147-member Assembly. It seems the Modi wave did not penetrate the minds of the rural and urban voters in the state who had visualised as if there is no alternative to the chief minister in the state BJP.
The weak leadership of the BJP also failed to capitalise the Modi wave and surrendered before Mr Patnaik, the sole campaigner of the Biju Janata Dal, who like Mr Modi made it a point to touch all the Assembly segments in the state to seek vote for his party.
(Posted on 17-05-2014)