Assembly election results 2019: Naveen Patnaik set to join elite ‘5-term’ club

The BJP seems set to be the main opposition party in the Odisha assembly with its candidates leading in 24 seats while Congress was leading in just six seats.
Odisha chief minister Biju Patnaik won both the Hinjili and Bijepur assembly constituencies against his nearest BJP candidates by huge margins.(Arabinda Mahapatra)
Odisha chief minister Biju Patnaik won both the Hinjili and Bijepur assembly constituencies against his nearest BJP candidates by huge margins.(Arabinda Mahapatra)
Updated on May 24, 2019 12:15 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Bhubaneswar | ByDebabrata Mohanty

Chief minister Naveen Patnaik is all set to come back to power in Odisha for a record fifth term as the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) won 115 of the 147 assembly seats even as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) notched up major gains in the state in the Lok Sabha battle on Thursday.

Assembly elections in Odisha were held along with the Lok Sabha polls.

According to figures on the Election Commission’s website, Patnaik, who would join Sikkim chief minister Pawan Chamling and late West Bengal chief minister Jyoti Basu as a five-time CM, won both the Hinjili and Bijepur assembly constituencies against his nearest BJP candidates by huge margins.

The BJP seems set to be the main opposition party in the Odisha assembly with its candidates leading in 24 seats while Congress was leading in just six seats.

The BJD needs 74 seats to form the government. In the 2014 assembly polls, the BJD won 117, the Congress 16 and the BJP 10.

In the Lok Sabha polls, however, the BJP seems to be doing well and was leading in eight constituencies against 13 for the BJD. In the Kendrapara Lok Sabha constituency, BJP’s Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda, who had switched sides just before the elections, was defeated by more than one lakh votes by BJD’s Anubhav Mohanty. BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra lost by 9,256 votes to BJD’s Pinaki Misra, a Supreme Court lawyer, in the Puri Lok Sabha seat.

Union tribal affairs minister and senior BJP leader Jual Oram won by more than 2 lakh votes from Sundargarh Lok Sabha seat against George Tirkey of the Congress. Former Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer and BJP candidate from the Bhubaneswar Lok Sabha seat, Aparajita Sarangi won by over 19,000 votes against former Mumbai police commissioner Arup Patnaik of the BJD.

If he forms the government, the 72-year-old Naveen Patnaik would have bucked the nationwide Modi wave for the second time. The BJP launched a blitzkrieg in Odisha calling for a “double-engine sarkaar”, a euphemism for BJP governments in both the state and at the Centre.

As predicted by several political analysts and exit polls, tactical voting seems to have arrived in Odisha as the electorate chose BJD candidates in the assembly and BJP candidates in the Lok Sabha polls. In 2014, the BJP won just one of the 21 Lok Sabha seats while the remaining 20 went to the BJD.

In the Bhubaneswar Lok Sabha constituency, BJD candidates in all the seven assembly segments were leading against their nearest BJP rivals, but the party’s Lok Sabha candidate Arup Patnaik was trailing. Similarly, BJP’s Suresh Pujari was leading in the Bargarh Lok Sabha constituency while all of BJD’s candidates were leading in the seven assembly segments including Patnaik’s Bijepur.

Political analysts said BJD’s robust organisational network, coupled with welfare schemes such as Kalia (Krushak Assistant for Livelihood and Income Augmentation) scheme, under which over 5.7 million farmers would get Rs10,000 a year for purchase of seeds, fertilisers and pesticides, seems to have helped the party overcome anti-incumbency.

Schemes announced for over 600,000 self-help groups, each of which received 15,000 in assistance and a smartphone before the polls, seemed to have boosted Patnaik’s prospects, they said.

Debendra Prusty, a political analyst, said, “If BJD is getting around 100 seats despite four terms in office, it shows that opposition parties have not strained themselves to get victory. Odisha is unlike Maharashtra or Haryana. BJP should have projected a CM face against Patnaik. That proved costly.”

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Monday, January 17, 2022