Many, specially those in the BJP, questioned the sagacity of chief minister Naveen Patnaik abruptly breaking his 11 year old alliance with them just after the elections were announced. But clearly Patnaik knew what he was doing. Contesting alone, his Biju Janata Dal picked up a staggering 103 of the 147 assembly seats, with BJP reduced to a single digit, six. The Congress tally was a measly 26.
The victory gives Patnaik his third term as CM, but unlike the two earlier ones, was achieved against great odds, with the BJP shrieking ‘betrayal’ at every public meeting and a resurgent Congress, thinking it had a good chance, putting up a spirited campaign. But nothing could stop Patnaik.
Patnaik himself, contesting the Hinjili seat, won by over 60,000 votes. But there were some blips too. BJP candidate from G.Udaygiri constituency in Kandhamal district, Manoj Pradhan, jailed for his alleged involvement in the attacks on Christians last year, won the seat. But others under a similar cloud, lost.
“It’s a vote for peace and harmony as well as for development,” said Patnaik. “We’ll work much harder for the people in future.”