As reported by The Sunday Guardian earlier, the state BJP unit wants PM Modi to contest from Puri.


A fresh survey, jointly conducted by ABP News and C-Voter and named as “Desh ka Mood” (mood of the country), has predicted a landslide victory for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Odisha during the 2019 elections. As per the opinion poll, the saffron party is set to win a majority of Lok Sabha seats in the state, pushing the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) to second place there.

Both the parliamentary and the state Assembly polls are held simultaneously in Odisha. In 2014, BJP could manage to win only one LS seat while the rest 20 were won by BJD. In the Assembly polls, the BJD had garnered a comfortable majority of 117 seats, while BJP could muster only 10 seats and Congress had become the main opposition party by winning 16 seats.

However, the political scenario has undergone drastic changes in the last four years. The BJP has got an upper hand on the Congress and has been playing the role of the main opposition since the last panchayat elections in the state in February last year. The party was able to expand its base mainly in the western parts of the state.

“BJP is seeking to brighten its prospects in the eastern state where speculation of PM Narendra Modi contesting on a seat in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections is rife. If that happens, BJP-led NDA is likely to get 13 seats there,” said the survey report published on Friday.

The survey also stated that if elections are held today, it will be a major setback for BJD which will win only six Lok Sabha seats out of 21, while others including Congress may get just two. In terms of vote share, it projected that the NDA will grab 39.6% votes, whereas the BJD and Congress-backed UPA will get 31.6% and 23.5%

Meanwhile, an online survey, titled “Trust of Odisha” and conducted by news portal Dailyhunt to know the pulse of the voters, has too found that “Modi magic” is set to dethrone Chief Minister Patnaik in Odisha this time. According to 62% respondents, BJP will give a tough time to BJD in the upcoming polls, whereas only 38% people think otherwise.

The survey revealed that most of the respondents see Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan as an alternative to CM Patnaik. On this question, 56% respondents preferred Pradhan, while Baijayant “Jay” Panda, former MP who quit BJD recently, was seen as an alternative by 23% respondents. Only 21% respondents see state Congress chief Niranjan Patnaik as an alternative.

Interestingly, the respondents have ruled out formation of a mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) of Opposition parties against the BJP. According to the survey, only 35% of the respondents believe that such an alliance will materialise, but 65% deny the possibility. The survey was conducted for over five days (15 to 20 September 2018) in which 50,156 people participated.

However, yet another poll commissioned by India Today and named “Political Stock Exchange” has not painted that rosy a picture for the BJP as far as Assembly polls are concerned. A strong 59% of respondents have chosen Patnaik as their first preference for the post of Chief Minister. But, at the same time, Pradhan has shown a marked improvement on this front with 21% backing him, while the state Congress chief got mere 5%.

The poll showed 44% of the respondents were satisfied with the performance of the Patnaik-led BJD government in the state while a mere 19% expressed dissatisfaction. Interestingly, 76% respondents said they were not aware of the Rafale deal while 79% among those aware believed that the Centre should not reveal its price in public. But the survey highlighted an anti-incumbency wave intensifying against the ruling dispensation in the state.

For the parliamentary elections though, 54% people in Odisha voted for PM Modi to continue in the post for a second term, while 21% supported Congress president Rahul Gandhi. The survey showed 52% people in the state are satisfied with the performance of the Modi government at the Centre while only 12% are not. The poll was based on telephonic interviews across 21 parliamentary constituencies with a sample size of 8,232.

Meanwhile, the state unit of BJP has formally requested PM Modi to contest from Puri parliamentary constituency. The Sunday Guardian had published this news in these columns four months ago itself (Odisha BJP wants PM to contest from Puri, 3 June 2018). Making it public in Bhubaneswar on Friday, party’s state president Basant Panda said a proposal has been sent to the national leadership in this regard and a decision is awaited. Panda said if that happens, the party’s prospects will improve significantly in the state as it will change the political situation in the coastal belt, considered a BJD stronghold. “It will also enable us to accomplish our national president Amit Shah’s ‘Mission 120’ (to win at least 120 seats in the Assembly polls),” he added.

With biggies like Jay Panda and Damodar Rout waiting in the wings to join the saffron bandwagon, the opinion polls have come handy for the BJP to up its ante. Buoyed by the survey findings, ground level BJP workers have already started intensifying their campaign. With the BJD government not willing to implement the Centre’s flagship health insurance scheme Ayushman Bharat, aka “Modicare”, they have decided to launch a campaign to create awareness among the people about its benefits.