BJP Decimates BJD In Odisha, Forms State Government Too

Naveen Patnaik has been the Odisha chief minister since 2000.

BJP Decimates BJD In Odisha, Forms State Government Too

PM Narendra Modi had said a BJP chief minister would take oath in Odisha on June 10.

New Delhi:

While the BJP has ended up nowhere close to its target of 370 Lok Sabha seats and well short even of its 2019 figure of 303, Odisha has emerged as the shining light for the party. Not only has the BJP emerged as the single largest party in the state in the Lok Sabha elections, reducing the BJD to zero, but has also won the Assembly polls. The state will now have a different chief minister for the first time in 24 years.

As of 11.48 pm, the BJP had won 19 of the state's 21 Lok Sabha seats and was leading in one more. The Congress won the lone remaining constituency while the BJD was nowhere in the picture - marking an astounding fall for the regional behemoth, which had won 20 constituencies in 2014 and 12 in 2019.

What will undoubtedly hurt the BJD and Mr Patnaik more, however, is the BJP winning the Assembly elections. The BJP has won 78 seats of the state's 147, putting it four higher than the majority mark and 55 over its tally of 23 in 2019. The BJD has won 51, down from 113, while the Congress has got 14.

It is hard to overstate the impact of the loss on the BJD and Mr Patnaik, who has been the chief minister of the state since 2000 and was widely seen as remaining very popular, especially at the state level. 

Making the BJP's achievement bigger is the fact that it went into the elections without a chief ministerial candidate, banking largely on the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This is a reversal of trends at the national level since 2014, where the absence of a face that can take on PM Modi has had a big impact on the opposition's prospects. 

Alliance Talks Failed

It is also a vindication of the BJP's decision to go it alone in the state. Reports had suggested that Mr Patnaik's party, which had supported the BJP in Parliament on several occasions despite not being in an alliance with it, was in talks for joining the NDA. Discussions had, however, eventually fallen through.

Ahead of the elections, PM Modi had said that a BJP chief minister would take oath in the state on June 10 and the BJD had scoffed at the statement.

"Odisha's fate is about to change. The government is changing. I have said that the expiry date of the current government of Odisha is June 4. And on June 10, BJP's Chief Minister will take oath in Odisha," the Prime Minister had said.

Expressing confidence that he would get a sixth term, Mr Patnaik had said, "I see very handsome results in the state elections. We will form a solid government again in the state. And in the Parliament, we will have a very good majority."