With the Odisha legislative assembly elections due in 2019, it appears that the BJP is all set to dethrone Naveen Patnaik in the state. According to an online survey, titled “Trust of Odisha” conducted by Dailyhunt to know the pulse of the voters. Over 50,000 people participated in the survey, the results of which will send warning bells ringing for the sitting Odisha chief minister.
The respondents have interestingly ruled the grand alliance of opposition parties out of race. According to the survey, 35% of the respondents believe that a grand coalition will be formed while 65% of the respondents have ruled against the formation of any such coalition. According to 61% of the respondents ‘Modi magic’ will work in the state dethroning BJD from the state and only 39% believe that it will not work. There are clear signs of massive anti-incumbency in the state against BJD and in favour of the BJP. In fact, 62% of the respondents opined that Odisha will change the chief minister after the next elections whereas merely 38% opined that Patnaik will come back to power. Similarly, commenting about giving another chance to the incumbent government, 63% of the respondents made it clear that they will not be giving a second chance to the present government and merely 37% of the respondents stated that they will be giving a second chance to the Patnaik government.
In the recent past, the BJP has ventured outside its stronghold areas and has been spreading its wings. Its emergence as an alternative to the Congress and the left in the North-eastern states and is emerging as a power to reckon with in West Bengal goes on to show how the BJP has become a pan national party. Its rise in Odisha will only corroborate this fact and will also be seen as a huge boost as far as the popularity of prime minister Modi is concerned. Moreover, Odisha sends 21 members to the Lok Sabha which is a decent number. BJP’s rise in the state will help it in compensating even if it were to suffer a reduction of seats in its stronghold areas.
This does not come as a surprise at all. There is massive anti incumbency against Patnaik in the state. Odisha voters want to get rid of the poor state status that has been associated with the state for decades. Naveen Patnaik has been ruling Odisha in the form of a dynasty but now there is a wind of nationwide change which will also have an impact on the prospects of BJD in Odisha. To make matters worse, Naveen Patnaik has been looking like a clueless leader. The rise of bureaucrat and personal aide to cheif minister Patnaik, V. Pandian goes as the super chief minister on to show that Patnaik has been totally incompetent as a state leader. Therefore, the people of Odisha are fed up with him and are looking for a better option.
BJP has a clear advantage in the state given potent and strong leadership in the form of union minister and senior BJP leader from Odisha Dharmendra Pradhan. 56% of the respondents in the above-mentioned survey have reposed faith in Pradhan as an alternative. BJP has already gained considerable momentum in the state and in 2017 it had emerged as the second largest party during the panchayat polls in Odisha. This was a big gain for the party in the state where it traditionally had little ground presence. Thus, it is clear that the BJP is all set to squarely defeat the Patnaik led party in Odisha.