BJD exodus: In a first, TINA no more a factor for BJD ticket losers

BJD may still claim TINA (there is no alternative) to CM Naveen Patnaik. But ticket losers in BJD have got an alternative. The TINA factor no more finds any echo in dropped BJD candidates. Be it veteran Damodar Rout, Arjun Sethi, Mohan Jena or Balabhadra Majhi, they all got an alternative in BJP.

Bhubaneswar: Notwithstanding the projection of ruling BJD’s strategy to drop at least 33 per cent of incumbent MLAs/MPs in 2019 elections as a brand new strategy, the truth is it’s a mere redux of 2014.

But twist in tale is BJD witnessed a large-scale revolt in 2019. The reason is quite revealing politically. BJD may still claim the TINA (there is no alternative) to CM Naveen Patnaik. But ticket losers in BJD have got an alternative. The TINA factor no more finds any echo in dropped BJD candidates. Be it veteran Damodar Rout, Arjun Sethi, Mohan Jena or Balabhadra Majhi, they all got an alternative in BJP.

In 2014, BJD could easily drop as many as 56 MLA candidates without any murmur. The TINA (There is no alternative) factor then tied their ticket loser’s hands. But in 2019, they see an opportunity in BJP courtesy – the Modi factor. The fall of TINA fear among BJD leaders resulted in huge exodus from BJD in 2019. The fallout is BJD till date had changed candidates in mere 24 per cent of the 117 constituencies declared.  As on Saturday, the party could change candidates in mere 30 assembly constituencies of a total of around 117 seats declared.

An analysis shows BJD in 2014 dropped as many as 56 candidates of a total of 147 assembly constituencies. It had also changed or dropped MPs in a high of around 9 Lok Sabha seats in 2014. This shows BJD had fielded new candidates in around 38 per cent of assembly constituencies and in a whopping 42 per cent of parliamentary constituencies in 2014.

Significantly, the 2014 redux looks to have gone awry for BJD in 2019. The party was hoping to drop half of the sitting MLAs in 2019. But data shows till Saturday, it could replace candidates in around 30 assembly segments. The party could field new candidates in mere 24 per cent of total assembly seats announced.

However, BJD in 2019 has so far replaced candidates in 13 Lok Sabha (LS) constituencies against 9 LS seats last time. This analysis brings to fore the significant revelation that there is a lurking fear in BJD over loss of LS seats to BJP, and hence party has brought maximum changes in LS candidates in 2019.

The sheer coincidence lies in the fact that the very constituencies which saw new candidates in 2014, have also seen replacements in 2019. Significantly, most of the constituencies fall in western, northern and southern Odisha. However, majority of the coastal constituencies have witnessed a repeat of candidates in 2019. Electoral statistics show that seats in western Odisha and northern Odisha have been swing seats, where voters vote for change in majority of times. Reading the leaves, BJD keeps changing its candidates there.

In 2014, BJD had brought in new faces in LS constituencies like Bargarh, Sambalpur, Mayurbhanj, Jajpur, Kalahandi, Nabarangpur, Kandhamal, Aska and Koraput. In the same constituencies, BJD brought in new candidates again in 2019. Bhubaneswar and Bhadrak LS seat are the only new additions till date. Similarly, the replacements done in the assembly seats in 2019 are the very assembly seats that saw new faces in 2014.

For instance, the Bargarh Lok Sabha seat, where Dr Hamid Hussain was BJD candidate in 2009, Prabash Singh was made candidate by BJD in 2014. Party named Prasanna Acharya its face in 2019. Similarly, in the Sambalpur LS seat, Rohit Pujari was BJD face in 2009. BJD nominated Nagendra Pradhan for Sambalpur LS seat in 2014. In 2019, bureaucrat Nalini Pradhan replaced Nagendra as Sambalpur LS BJD candidate.

BJD had changed the Mayurbhanj LS candidate in 2014. The party fielded a new face again in the seat in 2019. Nabarangpur and Koraput had witnessed new candidates in 2014. BJD has brought in new candidates in 2019 in the same constituencies.  Ditto is the case with Sundergarh, Gunpur and many more assembly seats.