Himansu Shekhar Rout

After the third phase of elections in Odisha, the fate of candidates in 15 Lok Sabha seats and 105 Assembly segments have been sealed in the EVMs. With the final phase to go, the three major parties have started staking claims for electoral success and government formation this time.

Interestingly, BJD supremo and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is confident of forming a stable government for the sixth term despite many rebels and an alleged undercurrent of resentment. “We will form a very stable government again this time,” the CM told media.

Corroborating the CM’s assertion, BJD leader Ashok Panda said, “Lord Jagannath will definitely bless the BJD and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. God lives in people and 4.5 crore people of Odisha will bless the CM.”  

Multiple factors that boost the BJP confidence

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is also fully upbeat about forming the government with a two-thirds majority, pointing out factors like the changed mood of the people and the rising popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Odisha. Besides, the frequent visits by the Prime Minister, Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP National President JP Nadda, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and other central leaders are claimed to have turned out to be a game changer for the BJP this time. 

Sounding a note of confidence, senior BJP leader KV Singh Deo asserted, ”We are fully confident that the BJP is going to form the government in Odisha on June 4. There is no doubt about it. The BJP is headed for a two-thirds majority.” 

On the other hand, Congress lambasted the electoral ambitions flaunted by the BJP and BJD, claiming that people will give a befitting reply in the polls. 

Congress spokesperson Biswaranjan Mohanty claimed, ”In reality, people of Odisha are fed up with the BJD and the BJP. People have distanced themselves from the two parties. Congress will emerge as an alternative in Odisha. Their invitation cards will turn out to be their farewell cards.”       

What do higher poll percentages point to?

On the other hand, given an increased polling percentage, political analysts have sensed a likely power shift this time. The overall polling percentage in Odisha during the 2019 elections was 73.02. In Bhubaneswar, the polling percentage in the 2019 elections was 59.05 and this time it rose to 64.49 per cent. 

As per the CEO, the first phase of polling reported an overall 73.97 per cent while it was 73.5 in the second phase. In the third phase, Odisha recorded an overall 74.45 per cent voter turnout (minus postal ballot). Sambalpur registered the highest voter turnout at 79.50 per cent, followed by Keonjhar at 78.97 per cent, Dhenkanal at 78.01 per cent, Cuttack at 71.20 per cent, Puri at 75.43 per cent and Bhubaneswar at 64.49 per cent.   

Senior journalist K Rabi said, ” Earlier, low polling was recorded. This time, high polling at 62 per cent was reported. BJD has given some new candidates. And how far they have built rapport with cadres will matter. Given all such factors, high polling points to a change.”

Also Read | Bhubaneswar strong room under three-tier security, CCTV surveillance: Police Commissioner

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