Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Though dates for the upcoming 2024 General Elections are yet to be announced, predictions by some media organisations on the pretext of public opinion surveys seem to have become the tool of choice in Odisha to further narratives. While some agencies have claimed in their surveys that the Opposition BJP will clinch 20 out of 21 Lok Sabha seats in the State, few others see ruling BJD garnering 18 seats. Voters in the State seem baffled.

Surveys galore

As per the recent pre-poll survey conducted by The Federal, the BJP is expected to win 20 Lok Sabha seats in the upcoming election in Odisha. The survey also predicted that while the ruling BJD would manage to win only one Lok Sabha seat, Congress would remain empty-handed. 

As per the survey, while BJP’s vote share will increase from 16 percent to 54.90 percent, BJD’s vote share will reduce to 19.45 percent with a decline of 23.45 percent. Moreover, the vote share of Congress is expected to decline to 9.74 percent decline. Earlier, a Times Now pre-poll survey had stated that the Opposition BJP and ruling BJD would win 11 and 10 Lok Sabha seats in the State respectively. As per the survey, Congress would not be able to open its account.

However, India Today made a contrasting prediction in its pre-poll survey. As per the survey, BJD is expected to win 11 Lok Sabha seats with BJP getting 10 seats.

Meanwhile, the pre-poll survey conducted by Janhit Times claimed that the popularity of BJD is increasing in Odisha. As per the survey, while BJD is expected to win 18 Lok Sabha seats in the upcoming elections, BJP and Congress are likely to get two and one seats respectively.

Voters baffled

Meanwhile, voters in the State are baffled by such differences in the pre-poll surveys conducted by different media organizations. However, the political parties have started analyzing the surveys to fit their perception.

“The popularity of Naveen Patnaik has waned by 27 percent in Odisha. Meanwhile, the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been increasing in the State. People have already made up their minds to vote for the BJP. Our party will win the highest number of Lok Sabha seats in Odisha. Moreover, the saffron party will form the government in the State by winning more than 100 Assembly seats in the upcoming election,” said BJP leader Biranchi Tripathy.

“BJD will win more than 128 Assembly seats in the upcoming election. It is the real picture in the State. People of the State especially the voters in the rural areas have realized that BJD is the only party that is concerned about the development of the State and the ruling party only can protect the interests of the people in the rural areas,” said BJD leader, Parshuram Dhada.

However, Congress brushed aside the findings of different pre-poll surveys.

“In 1995, it was claimed that Biju Patnaik will return to power again. However, Congress won the election and Janaki Patnaik formed the government. So, the survey reports are not reliable. Nobody is looking at the ground realities. People in the rural areas of Odisha are dissatisfied with the performance of the BJD government,” said PCC President Sarat Pattanayak.

Meanwhile, as per political analysts, the pre-poll surveys are only a gimmick to create a suitable political atmosphere.

“These kinds of surveys have been done to please different political parties only. It will have no impact on voting,” said political analyst, Prasanna Mohanty.