Lok Sabha Elections 2019 is round the corner and the Election Commission of India (ECI) is likely to declare the poll schedule in the first week of March. We are also gearing up for the elections and are coming up with a series: Election Analysis: What happened in Odisha in 2014 Lok Sabha Polls? What will happen in 2019? Let us look at the political scenario in the state of Odisha. The Naveen Patnaik-led Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has been ruling the state since 2000 without any serious threat from the opposition. The Congress party has been in shambles while the BJP is still in a search of some credible face to challenge the might of Naveen Babu. The party is likely to project Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan as its chief ministerial candidate in the upcoming Odisha Assembly elections. However, the BJP has slowly but surely replaced the Congress as the prime opposition party and the main challenger of the ruling BJD. In 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJD swept the state leaving the BJP and the Congress to fight for the coveted second spot. Let's discuss this in detail.
What happened in Odisha in 2014 Lok Sabha Elections?
In 2014 Lok Sabha Elections, Naveen Patnaik was one of the regional satraps who stood his ground against the Narendra Modi wave. The 2014 polls in Odisha were held in two phases on April 10 and 17. The state sends 21 members in the Lok Sabha and the BJD won 20 seats, while the BJP was able to win a single seat of Sundargarh. Jual Oram defeated BJD's Dilip Kumar Tirkey from the constituency and relegated former chief minister and Congress leader Hemananda Biswal to the third position. The BJD received 94,89,946 votes with a vote share of 44.77 per cent, while the BJP was able to garner 46,38,565 votes in the state with a vote share of 21.88 per cent. The saffron party came second in Balasore, Bargarh, Bhubaneswar, Bolangir, Dhenkanal, Kalahandi, Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar and Sambalpur. The Congress got more votes than the BJP in the elections but drew a blank. The party got 55,91,380 votes with 26.38 per cent of the vote share. iN 2009 Lok Sabha Elections, the BJD was successful on 14 seats and the Congress won 6. The BJP was not able to open its account in the state.
Some of the prominent winners in 2014 were Jual Oram (BJP-Sundargarh), Arjun Charan Sethi (BJD-Bhadrak), Bhartruhari Mahtab (BJD-Cuttack), Baijayant Panda (BJD-Kendrapara), Pinaki Misra (BJD-Puri), Prasanna Kumar Patasani (BJD-Bhubaneswar), Kalikesh Narayan Singh Deo (BJD-Bolangir), Tathagata Satpathy (BJD-Dhenkanal) and Jhina Hikaka (BJD-Koraput).
Hemananda Biswal (Congress), Dilip Kumar Tirkey (BJD), Suresh Pujari (BJP), Ananta Nayak (BJP), Srikant Kumar Jena (Congress), Sangeeta Kumari Singh Deo (BJP), Bhakta Charan Das (Congress), Kharabela Swain (AOP), Prithiviraj Harichandan (BJP), Bijay Mohanti (Congress) and Giridhar Gamang (Congress) lost the elections.
What was the result of Odisha Assembly Elections in 2014?
Odisha was one of the states that went for Assembly elections along with the Lok Sabha elections in 2014. The BJD outperformed the BJP and the Congress again and won 117 seats in the 147-member strong Assembly with a vote share of 43.35 per cent. The BJD received 93,35,159 votes in the state. The BJP was able to get 38,74,748 votes with a vote share of 17.99 per cent. The party won only 10 seats in the Assembly. Congress, on the other hand, won 16 seats with a vote share of 25.71 per cent. The party got the backing of 55,35,670 voters. Both the Assembly and the Lok Sabha elections showed a similar trend, however, the BJP polled around 4 per cent less in the Assembly polls as compared to the Lok Sabha polls. In 2009 Assembly elections, the BJD was successful on 103 seats and the Congress got 27 seats. The BJP had managed only 6 seats after its break up with the BJD.
What is the current scenario in 2019?
The BJP is trying its best to emerge as the alternative to Naveen Patnaik in Odisha and has already dethroned the Congress as the main opposition party. The party got the confidence after its exceptional performance in the panchayat elections in Odisha in 2017. The BJP had only 36 Zilla Parishad seats in 2012 which it increased to 306 in 2017. The ruling BJD suffered a jolt after its tally went down from 651 seats to 460. The Congress which was having 126 seats in 2012 also saw the decline in 2017 and was reduced to just 66 seats. The BJP got more than 32 per cent votes in the panchayat polls. In Kandhamal Lok Sabha and Bijepur Assembly bye-elections, the BJP came second after the BJD. However, the desertion of former Union minister Dilip Ray and Bijoy Mahapatra from the party can hurt the prospects of the BJP. It is a worrisome factor for the party who has set a target of winning 120 of the 147 Assembly seats.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah. The party got the confidence after its exceptional performance in the panchayat elections in Odisha in 2017. (File photo: PTI)
The BJD is also facing the dissent in the party and Baijayant 'Jay' Panda, one of the prominent BJD leaders, was already shown a door. Naveen Patnaik has been toying the idea of maintaining equidistance from the BJP and the Congress since 2009 when his party left the BJP-led NDA, but his recent actions such as supporting NDA candidate Harivansh Narayan Singh in the Rajya Sabha deputy speaker election, endorsing Ram Nath Kovind for the President’s post and also walking out of no-confidence motion in the Lok Sabha have been creating ripples in the political circles. Patnaik always rubbished all rumours about an alliance with the BJP ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi had launched a scathing attack against Naveen Patnaik and PM Narendra Modi. (File photo: PTI)
The Congress has attacked Patnaik for his stance and alleged that "both the parties are hand-in-glove with each other". Party chief Rahul Gandhi had launched a scathing attack against Patnaik and alleged that he is being "remote controlled" by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.