Patkura verdict – Was it a bittersweet victory for BJD?

While the BJD was expecting a win by around 30,000-50,000 votes, a victory by just 17,655 votes along with the BJP's rising vote share with each election seems to have stoked some concerns within the ruling-BJD

Bhubaneswar: Despite defeating his friend-turned-foe Bijay Mohapatra in the Patkura Assembly election yesterday, the BJD president and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik held a brainstorming session today with all the party leaders in-charge of the poll to eke out the reasons behind the decline in vote share of the party.

BJD candidate Sabitri Agarwalla won the seat by a margin of 17,655 votes- while she secured 95,362 votes, Mohapatra secured 77,507 votes. However, it was far less than what the BJD was expecting which was a margin of around 40,000 votes.

CM Naveen reportedly had a detailed review of the increase and decrease in vote share per booth and block. Besides, in the meeting, a roadmap was chalked out for developmental activities in the Assembly segment and party MLAs Pratap Deb, Ranendra Swain and Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak have been reportedly made in-charges of Derabis, Garadpur and Marshaghai blocks, respectively.

Deb, Swain and Nayak will reportedly work along with the newly-elected Patkura MLA Sabitri to fulfill all the promises made to the people of the constituency prior to the election. “We had a discussion about the overall performance of the party during the election. We discussed what all happened; the problems that we faced – the pros and cons; how our party organisation worked,” said Deb adding that BJD’s vote margin was not less than expectations.

On the other hand, a ministerial berth is still vacant in the Naveen cabinet and speculations are now rife that an MLA from Kendrapara district may be the lucky one. If it happens, someone of the five MLAs from the district will become a minister. Pratap Deb, Atanu Sabyasachi and former minister Shashi Bhushan Behera are the top three in the race for the ministerial berth.

Besides, CM Naveen is likely to rejig his cabinet after the current Assembly session. “There has been no lobby for any ministerial berth. It is the party president, who solely takes the decision and no lobby works here,” said Behera adding that he has always carried out the responsibilities bestowed upon by the party supremo sincerely.