OdishaPlus Desk

As May 23rd approaches, politics in Odisha is heating up. The election results are coming  at such a terrible time when the state is recovering  from Cyclone Fani. Odisha has suffered incredible damage due to  Fani. People of more than a dozen districts  have to spend harrowing time for the cyclone which devastated  almost half of the geographical area.

And,as the  countdown begins  for a new government in Odisha, all the three political parties are keeping their fingers crossed. Repolling  will be held in some booths on May 19th – the last day of voting, although  ballot vote for the much-awaited Patkura assembly seat has been differed.

Even as exit polls have been banned by the Election Commission, parties across the spectrum are doing their own math. In retrospect, the 2019 assembly and parliament elections in Odisha has been the bitter-most one in recent memory. While the ruling BJD wants to retain its turf, the BJP wants to unseat the BJD which has been in power for two long decades.

For BJD and its supremo Naveen Patnaik, this election was the most difficult one and the party had to work really hard to keep its votes intact. Never before in BJD’s two-decade long history, the party had to put in so much of toil not knowing which way the wind blows.Naveen himself had to cover  a thousand kilometers amidst scorching heat and addressed some one hundred fifty  election meetings. Barring a few assembly segments, Naveen had to address rallies in almost all constituencies in the hunt for votes for the BJD candidates.

Win We Must

As elections results are just a week away, the BJD is confident of its win and forming the government for the fifth time in a row. While party leaders are in no doubt of a comfortable win, the only doubt is the actual numbers.

In contrast, the BJP fought the 2019 election with all its strength. In its twenty-five year history, the saffron party was never so much organized fighting an election and the battle was never so prominent. The BJP had invested its energy in almost all the assembly constituencies. A number of high-profile leaders – from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Home Minister Rajnath Singh to party chief Amit Shah – relentlessly campaigned for its candidates.

BJP for Opposition

While BJP leaders too are confident of forming the next government in Odisha – at least that was their war cry during campaigning – the reality is somewhere between increasing the tally as compared to the 2014 election and becoming the main opposition party in the state.

That leaves the Congress in a really pitiable situation. Never in recent past, had the Odisha-Congress fought the assembly elections under such appalling circumstances. Elected MLAs and candidates were seen leaving the party in hordes even at nick of the moment. Candidates were turning down their tickets expressing inability to fight the election. While the central leadership of the Congress party doesn’t pin much hope in Odisha, local leaders are optimistic of winning a good number of seats this time round.

While the ruling BJD wants to retain its turf, the BJP wants to unseat the BJD which has been in power for two long decades.

The 2019 Assembly Elections in Odisha may not throw surprising results; but one thing is for sure that the inward bound government will have a tough time to administrate the state which lay battered after Cyclone Fani.