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Pradeep Singh

Bhubaneswar: The victory of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), the party which was often seen confined to and dependent on its tribal vote bank in Jharkhand, seems to have created fissures in the 'invincible' BJP pastures in the Hindi-belt. While JMM successfully maintained coalition with Congress and outsmart the saffron party plans, the regional party's triumph is expected to have grave ramifications in Odisha politics.

Sundergarh, Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj are the three Odisha districts bordering with Jharkhand and JMM shares a bonding with the tribal population of these areas. It had won three Assembly seats Odisha in 2000, four seats in 2004, but failed to open its account in the State during 2009, 2014 and 2019 elections.

Besides, the party had suffered a setback during the 2014 elections when two of its senior leaders, Sudam Marndi and Bhadab Hansda left the party mid-way and joined the ruling-BJD in Odisha.

Following the exodus, the BJD won all the Assembly seats in Mayurbhanj and Sundergarh district during 2014 polls. However, the BJP changed the political equations in 2019 by winning seven out of nine seats in Mayurbhanj and three out of seven constituencies in Sundergarh.

However, JMM is now confident of capitalising the Jharkhand-win and earn more political dividends in Odisha. "JMM's win in Jharkhand will definitely have a greater impact in Odisha, especially in Keonjhar, Sundergarh and Mayurbhanj," said Kalinga Keshari Jena, general secretary of the party in Odisha.

On the other hand, Congress claims that the party will rewrite Jharkhand story in Odisha. “Along with JMM, we will work towards strengthening the party and move ahead. The Jharkhand result will definitely have an impact on Odisha politics,” said Congress MLA, Sura Routray.

While the BJD also seems blissful with the result as it is believed that the surge of JMM in the northern part of Odisha will cut into BJP's vote bank. However, the BJP is of the view that JMM’s win will not affect the party’s prospects in Odisha.

“The Jharkhand result will have no impact on the BJP as we contest elections on the basis of our organisational strength,” State BJP vice-president, Samir Mohanty.

BJD MLA Nrusingha Charan Sahu said that the people of Jharkhand rejected the BJP because of its greed and anti-people activities. “We want the BJP to face defeat everywhere. The party’s voice is loud, not actions,” he said.

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