While the 2019 Lok Sabha exit polls showed Naveen Patnaik-led Biju Janata Dal (BJD) losing its ground in Odisha, the exit poll for the state assembly election has predicted its possible comeback for the fifth consecutive term, even after a significant drop in the number of seats.
Odisha went to polls in April on all of its 147 assembly seats, where BJD had a clear majority with 117 seats. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been quite successful in making inroads in Odisha but as per the exit polls, it won’t be able to stop BJD president Navin Patnaik from becoming Chief Minister again.
Kanak News and News18 Odia have predicted 85 seats for the BJD and around 25 seats for the BJP. The India National Congress (INC), which got 16 seats in the 2014 assembly polls, might come down to 12 seats.
The BJP, which got just one seat out of 21 in Odisha in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, is set to win 11 parliamentary seats as per the exit polls. All political pundits have been following the rise of the BJP in Odisha since it could compensate for a possible setback in Uttar Pradesh after Samajwadi Paty (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) came together to form Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance).
The BJD was facing an anti-incumbency of 19 years and after Baijayant Panda, also known as ‘Jay’ Panda, left the party to join BJP, it boosted the prospects of BJP in the state. Jay Panda was a Rajya Sabha member from BJD and was elected to Lok Sabha in 2009 and 2014 from Kendrapara Lok Sabha seat.
Odisha CM had also accused the former MP and industrialist-turned-politician Baijayant Panda of spreading rumour about his “ill” health for his personal political ambitions.
Naveen Patnaik has contested from two assembly seats – Hinjili (Ganjam) and Bijepur (Bargarh). He became the Chief Minister of Odisha on March 5, 2000, and has been ruling the state since then. He founded the party in 1997 after his father’s name, Biju Patnaik, the third Chief Minister of Odisha.