BJP Sweeps Odisha After Landslide Victory, Ends 24-Year Rule Of Naveen Patnaik's BJD

The BJD, which has been in power in Odisha since 2000, was in fact stunned by the saffron surge in all the regions including its forts in the coastal and southern regions of Odisha.

BJD's 24-Year Rule Set To End As BJP Crosses Majority Photo: PTI

Mocked as a 'sign-board party' in Odisha in the 1990s, the BJP on Tuesday stormed into power in the state, ending the 24-year reign of BJD leader Naveen Patnaik.

Proving all political analysts wrong, the Bharatiya Janata Party in a huge leap won 78 of the 147 seats in the assembly, trouncing the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) which also failed to win even a single seat in the Lok Sabha elections.

The BJD, which has been in power in Odisha since 2000, was in fact stunned by the saffron surge in all the regions including its forts in the coastal and southern regions of Odisha.

The BJP, which had last won only eight Lok Sabha seats, in 2024 secured 20 Parliamentary seats while Congress got one.

The Naveen Patnaik-led party, which had in 2019 elections won 113 seats in the assembly, could manage to get only 51 seats followed by Congress with 14 seats, CPI(M) one seat and Independents getting three seats.

Both the BJP and the Congress increased their tally in the Assembly this time. While the BJP had only 23 seats in 2019, there were nine Congress members in the Assembly.

Even the number of Independent candidates in Odisha Assembly also increased this time to three.

The CPI(M) maintained its status quo by winning its lone seat at Bonai in Sundergarh district.

This would be the first BJP government in the political history of Odisha. Though the BJP was in alliance with the BJD and formed the government from 2000 to 2009, the combination collapsed ahead of the 2009 general elections.

The BJP has been contesting against the BJD and failed to make any remarkable performance till 2024.

Even prior to the 2024 elections, there was an attempt to go for a seat-sharing between the BJD and the BJP, which incidentally failed.

Odisha this time also witnessed intense campaigning by the BJP with Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself addressing 10 poll rallies besides holding two road shows in Bhubaneswar and Puri.

“The BJP central leaders have held at least 245 election meetings across the state,” said BJP state vice-president Golak Mohapatra.

The 2024 election in Odisha is unique because the poll was fought on the issue of Odia “Asmita” (pride).

“This is probably the first such election in the history of Indian politics where the state’s pride was the main poll issue against the ruling dispensation (of a regional party),” said political analyst Braja Kishore Mishra.

While political analysts were busy dissecting the election results, party insiders pointed out that BJD's campaign was too weak in the face of BJP’s high-profile electioneering.

Besides Modi, top BJp leaders like Amit Shah, J P Nadda, Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Smriti Irani, Hema Malini and many others canvassed for their party candidates while the BJD’s campaigning was confined to just two persons- Patnaik and his close aide VK Pandian.

The issue of the "missing key" of Lord Jagannath’s Ratna Bhandar (treasury) was raised and the BJP alleged that Patnaik was “outsourcing” the government and the party.

In the last leg of the electioneering, BJP national vice-president Baijayant Panda alleged that a vote to BJD means empowering Pandian, a bureaucrat turned politician, whom the opposition accused of manipulating an "ailing" Patnaik.

Questions were also raised on the chief minister's health as he appeared to be unable to pick up his microphone to address the public during the election campaigning.

Prime Minister Modi made Patnaik’s health a major issue and even suggested that there could be a conspiracy behind the "sudden deterioration" in his condition.

The BJD on the other hand focused on telling voters about the different welfare schemes introduced by the Patnaik government.

The major issues against the BJP-led central government like "price rise", the alleged "neglect" of Odisha and unemployment could not be raised properly leading to the BJD’s defeat, political analysts said.