Prasanna Mishra

While a pre-poll alliance between the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seems almost sealed, it is worthwhile to look back and think about the outcome of the Elections five years ago when there was no such alliance or seat adjustment. BJD had an impressive performance winning 112 seats out of the 146 seats contested. Its vote share was, however, 44.71% -- a growth of just 1.3% over its performance in the previous election. On the other hand, BJP won just 23 seats while having an impressive vote share of 32.49%. In 13 constituencies it lost with a margin of less than six thousand votes. Its vote share went up by 14.5% and the number of winning seats was up by 13 while BJD’s tally of seats went down by 5 seats. 

After five years, there is now a wave of Prime Minister Modi; the indomitable Naveen Patnaik is now older and less active. Odisha’s style of governance has undergone sea change. Widespread corruption has affected government and the people. The state now witnesses a contrived leadership. A serving IAS officer, fairly junior in the hierarchy called the shots and controlled the administration for some years and then was assiduously nurtured at huge government expenses to gain visibility throughout the state. When the task was done, he quit the IAS and joined the ruling Party and almost overnight stood next to the tall Naveen Patnaik. The electorate watched the development and its mood changed. Popularity of the Chief Minister is on the wane. Only the Intelligence authorities would not agree.

One discerning observer who is active in social media wrote, “…… I have been travelling …. to many parts of western Odisha. …..  Huge wave in favour of BJP.”  He is worried that only the BJP and its leadership would not think so. People, he said had already made up their mind and hoped that the top leaders in Delhi would have ears to the ground.

Also Read | BJP-BJD Possible Alliance: Speculations Rife over Seat-sharing Ratio in Odisha

An alliance with BJD gives little advantage to BJP, but a lot many disadvantages to it. It stalls Odisha’s aspirations for a new government. Alliance gives unmerited advantages to local power brokers. Without the alliance, Odisha could have voted convincingly for BJP. The verdict could have made the BJP emerge as the largest legislative party and entitled it to an invitation from the Governor to form the government. In case of Lok Sabha, the outcome of 2019 Elections gives a clear story. On its own BJP had won 8 seats and had offered good challenge in another 3 constituencies. Now with favourable tailwind, the Party would have convincingly won 12/13 seats or even more. 

Rajdeep Sardesai’s post in X, inter alia, mentions “InAssembly, BJD will get more seats and assurance of CM post. …… BJD gets central ‘protection’. That unfortunately is not Odisha voters look forward to from the BJP in the coming Elections."

(DISCLAIMER: This is an opinion piece. The views expressed are the author’s own and have nothing to do with OTV’s charter or views. OTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)