Bhubaneswar: The people of Odisha have given a massive mandate to BJD that has catapulted Naveen Patnaik to power for the fifth consecutive term.
The BJD has won 112 assembly seats in the recently concluded polls, but the Lok Sabha result for the party is not encouraging. It bagged 12 LS seats but lost to BJP and Congress in nine important seats.
Political observers maintained that it has baffled the poll pundits. They could not fathom the reason why BJD lost in nine seats. Most importantly, the party had won eight of the nine LS seats in 2014.
There is a growing demand among the well-wishers as well as the party workers that a thorough probe must be initiated to find out the reason why BJD was trounced in the nine LS seats despite getting an impressive mandate in the state to rule another five years. Party insiders say that it was a part of the ploy to reduce the number of BJD in the parliament.
They said when the charisma of BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik has enabled a homemaker like Pramila Bisoi to register an impressive win by routing her opponent on a massive margin in Aska parliamentary constituency, how could BJD lose in the eight seats it had won massively in 2014.
Political observers are of the view that a machination could not be ruled out as the BJD candidates trounced their opponents in Berhampur, Bhadrak, Cuttack, Dhenkanal, Jagatsighpur, Jajpur, Kandhamal, Kendrapara, Keonjhar, Nabarangpur and Puri parliamentary seats in the closely fought election battle. Party sources said a thorough investigation into the matter will reveal who are behind the act.
The BJD has lost nine seats. These are Balasore, Bargarh, Bhubaneswar, Bolangir, Kalahandi, Koraput, Mayurbhanj, Sambalpur and Sundargarh. The Congress candidate Saptagiri Ulaka has emerged as the dark horse by defeating BJD candidate. This has not gone down well with the BJD supremo and a probe into the grave matter must be initiated at the earliest who are behind the act.
Sources said it is high time that the party should bring the so-called party strategist in Koraput under the scanner. Union minister Juel Oram has retained Sundargarh parliamentary seat, but the result of other seven seats could not be understood. They said the saffron party has straightaway snatched those seats from BJD in which it had won in 2014. What went wrong and who are behind the game for tarnishing the image of the party, they questioned.
The charisma of BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik has increased by leaps and bounds. In 2014 the vote percentage was 43.35. This has gone up to 44.71 per cent. The party has lost five and eight seats to rivals in assembly as well as parliamentary segments in the state respectively. Insiders are asking a big Why? and saying that this has to be decoded.
The BJD had fielded Rabindra Jena, an industrialist, in Balasore seat in 2014. He had won the seat by banking upon the popularity of Naveen Patnaik. But, Jena’s image nosedived in the last five years as he was involved in the ponzi scam. Despite this, he was again fielded as BJD MP candidate and obviously got the drubbing. The question here arises who persuaded the top echelons of BJD to again allow Jena to fight the polls. The BJD candidates were also trounced in Balasore Sadar and Nilagiri assembly seats.
The defeat of BJD in Bargarh LS seat has been regarded as a big setback. The Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has won Bijepur assembly seat with a margin of over sixty thousand. But, surprisingly BJD candidates were routed in all assembly seats under Bargarh parliamentary segment. The BJP candidate Suresh Pujari drubbed BJD’s Prasanna Acharya with a margin of 63,939 votes. Pujari had lost from Sambalpur in 2014. Questions are now raised why Acharya was asked to contest from the seat. Why was a candidate with winning chances not given the opportunity to contest the polls?
Sources said it should be probed who was behind the machination of conceding the seat to BJP. The discussion is now revolving around the fact that why Acharya was allowed to contest from the seat when the chances of winning was bleak. The political grapevines said that Pujari was not a strong candidate to reckon with in Bargarh LS seat. As Acharya was fielded, the electorate had no choice than to vote in favour of the saffron party.
In a similar situation, the BJD lost to the saffron party in Bhubaneswar. It changed the candidate and got the drubbing, sources said. Aparajita Sarangi from BJP won the battle. Seasoned politician Prasanna Patsani was on winning streak, but the change has resulted in the decimation of BJD popularity. The Odia police officer from Mumbai could not deliver the goods to the party as he was not widely known in the state, sources said. But, Sarangi was popular in Odisha as she had worked here for years.
The situation in Kalahandi, Mayurbhanj, Sambalpur, Sundargarh and Koraput is all the more the same. Change of candidates who had in the past garnered votes for the party has cost the BJD dearly, sources said. Candidates like Nagendra Pradhan and Dilip Tirkey were not given the opportunity to contest the elections and register victory for the party.
Poll observers are of the view that the drubbing BJD got in LS election is not due to waning popularity, but for choosing the right candidate to win people’s hearts.