Naveen, Orissa’s sole star | india | Hindustan Times
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Naveen, Orissa’s sole star

Orissa Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) chief Naveen Patnaik has scored a spectacular hat-trick by sweeping the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in Orissa, reports Soumyajit Pattnaik.

india Updated: May 17, 2009 03:14 IST
Soumyajit Pattnaik

Orissa Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) chief Naveen Patnaik has scored a spectacular hat-trick by sweeping the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in Orissa.

The BJD defied anti-incumbency, a spirited Congress campaign and charges of betrayal by the BJP to cross the three-figure mark in the 147-member Assembly. The party also won 14 of the state’s 21 Lok Sabha seats.

Naveen is the first CM of Orissa to win three elections on the trot. He told HT, “It’s a vote for peace and harmony as well as for development. I’m absolutely humbled by the tremendous generosity that the people have shown.”

The odds were heavily stacked against the BJD after Naveen ended his party’s 11-year-old alliance with the BJP. It was initially thought that a triangular contest leading to a division of anti-Congress votes would suit the Congress return to power. But Naveen’s gamble paid off.

The BJP tried hard to occupy the anti-Congress space by describing the BJD-BJP split as Naveen’s “betrayal.” It also fielded Hindutva hawks like Ashok Sahu, 57, as its Lok Sabha candidate from the scarred Kandhamal constituency. But Sahu was defeated by the BJD candidate.

Of the five Assembly seats in the sensitive Kadhamal Lok Sabha constituency, the BJP has won just two seats.