Will Odisha play a battleground or bellwether State in 2024 is one such million-dollar question that is now dominating the mindscape across the stakeholders - from common man, politicians and observers, especially after a super show by the Naveen Patnaik-led BJD in the Panchayat polls.
By grabbing more than 760 seats in Zilla Parishads, and post capturing the chairman seat in all the 30 districts, the ruling BJD seems to have reduced the Opposition to only a motley crowd. Becoming the frontrunner, and with Opposition trailing distantly, undoubtedly, the recently concluded Panchayat elections have set the tone for the big daddy fight in 2024.
After BJP's convincing win in 4 states, PM Narendra Modi addressing BJP leaders and cadres had said, "When we formed the government in 2019 [at the Centre], political pundits had said it was because of the 2017 victory [BJP's UP win]... I believe the same experts will say that the 2022 election result has decided the fate of the 2024 national elections."
Going by the yardstick of the political pundits, as mentioned by PM Modi, has the 2022 polls decided the fate of the 2024 general elections in Odisha?
From Odisha to Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, Manipur and Uttarakhand, the results show that it is the engines that by steamrolling the fuels clicked a successful run on the poll track.
The recent election results talk all about how leadership with deliverable schemes work wonders in the hustings.
While the Modi-Yogi double engine chugs the saffron win in UP and other 3 states, it has been the Kejriwal-Mann sop-opera that saw the Punjab triumph and Naveen Patnaik scheme-play won big in Odisha.
Odisha BJP Missed The Train?
Prime Minister Modi banked on UPYogi on the country's largest state to ensure a good return on the pro-poor schemes of the Centre.
The home truth here is, in Odisha nearly 59 percent of beneficiaries of the PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) had voted for BJP in the recently concluded Panchayat elections.
In contrast, in UP elections, a total of around 67 percent of PMGKAY beneficiaries have voted for the Modi-Yogi combine.
As per the Odisha State Election Commission data, in the recently concluded Panchayat polls, when BJP polled over 63 lakh votes, a whopping 1.09 cr went to ruling BJD's kitty.
The data available with Union Government reveals that a total of around 2.14 crore in Odisha had availed the PMGKAY -V during the period Dec 2021 - Jan 2022. Following the conversion of the total beneficiaries to the voter level, the number boils down to 1.069 crore.
The data then shows that from a total of over 1.06 cr beneficiaries, only 63 lakh had voted for BJP.
On the contrary, the data for Uttar Pradesh is given below.
- Total electors who voted in the 2022 Assembly polls stood at over 9.1 cr.
- BJP polled over 3.75 cr votes.
- Total PMGKAY beneficiaries in the State nearly 14 cr during the period Dec 2021- Jan 2022.
- When converted to voters, it boils down to around 5.6 crore.
- This shows nearly 67 percent of beneficiaries have voted for the saffron party
Here is another big piece of evidence that shows how BJP missed the train.
- Modi government transferred Rs 500 per month to a whopping 81.2 lakh PMJDY accounts in Odisha.
- The rural accounts in the State stood at around 64 lakh.
- BJP polled only a little over 63 lakh votes in the rural elections concluded recently.
The above analysis of schemes and numbers clearly reveal that Odisha BJP is drawing fewer votes than the number of beneficiaries of Central government schemes.
In contrast, the Naveen Patnaik government is not only successfully converting the beneficiaries of its schemes to votes but also poaching BJP scheme beneficiaries.
The one-liner here is CM Naveen Patnaik has turned 'UPYOGI' for BJD in Odisha, and BJP has no clues.