Modi wave shakes BJD in LS; TINA, KALIA crown Naveen in assembly polls

Brand Naveen seems ruling the roost. Had BJP’s winning lead in 7 LS constituencies been taken into account, the seat conversion for BJP in assembly polls would have been around 49

Bhubaneswar: Notwithstanding the ‘TsuNamo’ hitting Odisha shores, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has had the last laugh as he piloted a fifth consecutive win for the BJD in Odisha.

How disastrous the Modi tsunami has proved for the BJD in Odisha is evident from the fact that despite Naveen himself choosing to contest from Bijepur in Bargarh constituency, party veteran and trusted lieutenant Prasanna Acharya is trailing in Bargarh Lok Sabha (LS) constituency by an unbeatable margin of over 39,000 votes (till this report was filed) .

Not a lone shocker! Puri LS seat, a pocket Borough of BJD for decades, party veteran and three-time MP Pinaki Mishra is seen sweating out hard at the hands of BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra. Only in 2014, Pinaki had won an emphatic victory with a margin of nearly a lakh votes. In contrast, this is Patra’s maiden contest from Puri.

The State BJP has reaped a good harvest this LS election riding on the Modi wave.The party’s vote share jumped to over 32 per cent in 2019 from 18 per cent in 2014. The saffron party  that could win only a single seat in 2014 only by a slender margin, is now leading strongly in seven LS constituencies; whereas, it is maintaining a slender lead over BJD in two other LS seats.

Tribal affairs Minister Jual Oram is leading from Sundergarh in 2019 by over 1.3 lakh votes.

BJP for the first time on its own strength is leading in nine LS constituencies, a feat which the saffron party had accomplished in 1999 and 2004 when it had an alliance with BJD. The stunning show of BJP in 2019 LS polls indicates the Modi magic at work in Odisha.

However, in 2019 assembly polls, brand Naveen seems to be ruling the roost. BJD’s vote share has inched up to 44.7 per cent in 2019 from 43.41 per cent in 2014.

Because, had the BJP’s winning lead in seven LS constituencies been only taken into account, the seat conversion for BJP in assembly polls would have been around 49.

But the BJP lead tally shows the party leading in around 20 seats. This reveals a striking fact in Odisha polity. The TINA (There is no alternative) to Naveen is still strong in Odisha. Though PM Modi tried to shoulder the Odisha assembly poll on his broad shoulders, voters here seem not to have accepted that gambit. In fact, the gambit had worked wonder in 2017 UP Assembly polls.

Why it failed in Odisha? The simple reason is PM Modi has been a LS member from Varanasi. In Odisha, Modi is nowhere around. Exactly, this is the reason, for which people of Odisha didn’t repose their confidence on PM Modi’s UP game plan.

The State BJP knew this much earlier, for which they were pleading before the central leadership to make the top leadership concede the State party demand of allowing PM Modi to contest from Puri.

Top BJP sources revealed that the party was giving a positive thought on the State BJP’s request to let Modi contest from Puri, but the formation of Mahagatbandhan in UP in January and BJP’s loss in three states in December saw the plans being shelved for ever for BJP’s larger interests in UP.

For Naveen, these turn of events have come as godsend. The BJD realising a farmers’ backlash in 2018 December polls, formulated a “KALIA’ scheme and bend to the extreme to see the majority of farmers get the farm assistance or at least Rs 10,000/farmer account. Both worked like wildfire.

It is these godsend events that seem to have scripted Naveen’s historic fifth-term win in Odisha though TINA is still a factor in the State.

The Congress party, which was on weak wicket, played smart to win big by riding on Chhattisgarh win. But reports suggest the Rs 2,500/quintal MSP had not seen a wholehearted implementation there. And Congress party has lost badly in 2019 LS elections to BJP in Chhattisgarh also.