Knives Out, BJD Begins Post-Poll Analysis

The snatching of eight LS seats by the BJP, seven more than 2014 elections, seems to have rattled the BJD and forced the Naveen brigade to undergo an autopsy of the elections and their results

Bhubaneswar: Despite the landslide victory of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in Odisha, the party lost several Lok Sabha and Assembly seats triggering a blame game within the regional party. So to review the party’s drubbing in the polls, BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik sought a report following which the party leaders from across the State on Saturday got together at Naveen Niwas for a post-poll analysis.

While some believe that split voting resulted in the poor performance at some places, others are of the view that anti-party activities by some leaders led to the debacle. Though several incumbent BJD MPs and MLAs contesting the 2019 polls were shown door, the ruling party managed to compensate the loss by winning some new seats and also retaining a few.

BJD’s Sundergarh MP candidate Sunita Biswal, daughter of former Congress Chief Minister Hemananda Biswal who lost to Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram, said that lack of sufficient time for campaigning is one of the reasons behind her defeat. “It seems we failed to reach out to people due to which the party lost at some places. A review meeting is needed to identify the lacunae,” she said.

On the defeat of the two-time BJD MP Kalikesh Singh Deo, senior BJD leader Ayub Khan alleged that it is being said that Kalikesh had promised many people in Bolangir to give party tickets for 2019 elections but when those assured people failed to get ticket, they revolted against the party.

“As it is difficult to tell the actual reason behind the loss, a review of the debacle is needed,” added Khan.

Kalikesh lost the Bolangir Parliamentary seat to BJP candidate and his sister-in-law Sangeeta Singh Deo by around 19,000 votes. Sangeeta will now represent the MP seat for the fourth time.

Surprisingly, BJD candidates from seven Assembly constituencies in Bargarh won the election but the party failed to win the Bargarh Lok Sabha seat. Moreover, BJD president Naveen Patnaik was the party candidate from Bijepur Assembly constituency under the said Parliamentary seat. However, Naveen charisma also couldn’t help the party retain the Bargarh LS seat.

Besides, the party failed to impress voters at the ground level helping the BJP and Congress to breach the BJD strong holds. Out of the 34 Assembly seats where the BJD suffered setback, several were predicted as sure-shot win for the party.

“…will not blame anyone for my defeat as I think people didn’t believe me as I couldn’t campaign properly,” said Jogesh Singh, the former Congress legislator from Sundargarh who joined BJD before the 2019 polls. Singh got defeated by a margin of over 7,000 votes by BJP’s Kusum Tete who quit BJD after being denied ticket and joined the saffron party ahead of the elections.

Meanwhile, BJD’s Baramba MLA-elect Debi Mishra said that the party will take cognizance of the matter and have a post-mortem of the allegations. “Naveen Patnaik will review the matter and appropriate take action,” said Mishra.