Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Following an emphatic defeat from BJP in the Dhamnagar assembly bypoll, the ruling BJD bounced back strongly to script a thumping victory in the Padampur bypoll, the result of which was declared on Thursday.

BJD candidate Barsha Singh Bariha defeated BJP’s Pradip Purohit with a margin of over 42,000 votes in the recently concluded bypoll.

As per experts, some crucial decisions by the ruling party helped them turn the tables in their favour. Providing a prompt solution to each and every allegation, giving importance to the local experienced party leaders and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik leading the campaigning were among some key decisions for BJD’s convincing victory in Padampur bypoll where much was at stake for the ruling party.

The political analysts are of the opinion that BJD workers were not enthusiastic about the candidature of Abanti Das in Dhamnagar. However, they were overwhelmed with the party’s decision to select Barsha Singh Bariha, elder daughter of late MLA Bijay Ranjan Singh Bariha as candidate for Padampur bypoll.

Moreover, the rebel factor played a major role in dashing BJD’s hope in Dhamnagar as former MLA and independent candidate Rajendra Das gave BJD candidate Abanti a checkmate. However, there was no rebel candidate in Padampur which went in favour of Barsha.

While the sympathy factor went in favour of Suryabanshi Suraj in Dhamnagar due to the death of his father and former BJP MLA Bishnu Charan Sethi, the same factor went in favour of Barsha in Padampur.

A particular group of BJD was fighting the election in Dhamnagar, but BJD was at its full intensity in Padampur with the experienced leaders of Western Odisha calling the shots along with full cooperation from coastal leaders.

Effective micromanagement of BJD in Padampur was also one of the reasons for the party’s success as they touched each and every voter of the constituency with hard and proper teamwork. While some rebels in BJD spoiled the party in Dhamnagar by misleading the top leaders, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik himself monitored election strategy directly with regular updates from party observers.

“We lost Dhamnagar seat due to overconfidence and poor strategy. However, the party learnt from its mistakes and with a proper strategy in place we became successful in Padampur. The CM led the campaign and with a positive developmental agenda and we won the faith and confidence of people,” said BJD leader Susanta Singh.

The party had prepared special strategies on Fasal Bima Yojana, input subsidy and mandi mismanagement, railway projects construction and statements about candidates to counter BJP and push the saffron party into the back foot. Even the CM had answered each allegations of BJP through video messages and made counter-allegations also. BJD had also successfully played the cast politics card in the bypoll for the first time.

“Voters accepted Barsha in the by-poll with the women, youth and tribal voters giving their full support. People liked our development agenda and banked upon the able leadership of Naveen Patnaik once again,” said senior BJD leader Debi Prasad Mishra.

As per senior journalist Sandeep Sahu, BJD won an even battle with a proper strategy in place.

“BJD answered each and every allegation by the opposition tactfully. When the Opposition lodged complaints about before the Election Commissioner, BJD also made counter allegations. Eventually, the ruling party won an even battle,” said Sahu.