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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: When consistency in all departments is the buzzword for a cricket team to emerge as the world champion, the same hard norms are equally indispensable for the political parties on a poll pitch.

It's the lack of this consistency in rival teams of BJD saw how the party under the captaincy of Naveen Patnaik has scored three successive tons (103 in 2009, 117 in 2014 and 112 in 2019) in Odisha Assembly polls.

The opposition BJP, which has won 23 seats this time, put up a poor show in southern Odisha; whereas another rival team on the poll pitch, the grand old Congress party, has put up a lackadaisical power play in the coastal and western Odisha.

Consider this. Odisha has around 25 SC seats and 34 ST seats. When the ST seats are spread across southern and western Odisha; SC seats are spread across the coastal, central and western Odisha. A sample check of the performance of parties on these very crucial seats will reveal how the political power-play was on the ground in 2019 polls.

Among the 25 SC seats on for grab, BJP could romp home in mere 2 SCs seats (1 in western Odisha and another in coastal Odisha). And Congress could win mere 1 SC seat. It's BJD who smiles all the way with a whopping 22 SC seats in its kitty.

The significant analysis to fore here is for the first time in 2019 coastal Odisha, which was a stronghold of Congress and BJD, witnessed intense fight between BJD and BJP. In majority of the SC seats in coastal Odisha, BJP emerged as the nearest rival of BJD. And Congress slipped to third position in the power tussle.

Political observers view this as a transition phase, where an old party starts crumbling down and a new party is in an evolutionary growth phase. And this transition period proved a boon for the BJD in 2019, they observe.

Similarly, in the ST seats that are spread across the southern and western Odisha, the strike rate for BJP is 8 seats, nil for Congress and only one for CPI (M). BJD won in 25 ST constituencies in 2019. And here the revelation to fore is BJP was in third place in the ST seats in southern Odisha; whereas Congress fared at third position in western Odisha.

The import of the analysis is the strength of opposition in Odisha appears fragmented. No single party has an even strength across the State like BJD. While BJP is a strong contender for power in western Odisha, it emerges as a contender for the first time in 2019 in coastal Odisha. The party appears very weak in southern Odisha.

The Congress party looks to have weakened in coastal and western Odisha. But it still holds ground in southern Odisha alone.

In contrast, BJD puts up a strong show across the regions. And the party scored a century of seats again.

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