New Delhi: NDTV's opinion poll shows Naveen Patnaik proving that he is an unchallenged force in Odisha, by winning 17 of the state's 21 seats, three more than the previous election.
Mr Patnaik's Biju Janata Dal or BJD ended an 11-year alliance with the BJP just before the 2009 election and won 14 seats. The BJP drew a blank, which indicated that the split made no difference to the Odisha-based party though it substantially weakened its former ally.
The NDTV poll also shows an erosion in the vote base of the Congress, which is expected to see its tally drop by half to three seats. The BJP is predicted to win one seat.
Mr Patnaik, who was seen as a reluctant leader when the Biju Janata Dal was formed 17 years ago, looks set to maintain his dominance in Odisha despite a perceived wave in the BJP's favour, and even though his government is battling charges in the mining and coal scams and the rural jobs scheme. The 67-year-old is also fighting his first polls without his trusted mentor Pyarimohan Mohapatra, who rebelled two years ago.