The results of the 2024 Odisha Election will carry significant weight in shaping the future of national politics, argues Bhaskar Parichha

Bhaskar Parichha

Elections for both the Odisha Assembly and the Lok Sabha are just three weeks away, with the first phase of voting scheduled for May 13. As the campaign intensifies, there are many possibilities that can unfold before the final outcome is determined.

This time around, the elections in Odisha pose significant challenges for all three major parties. However, it is unlikely that the overall landscape will differ greatly from the 2019 elections. Perhaps there will only be a slight change in the final tally.

If there had been a coalition between the ruling BJD and the BJP, the 2024 elections would have undoubtedly been quite different. Despite numerous discussions, the alliance could not be finalized. Therefore, once again, the BJP and the BJD will directly compete for seats across the board.

BJP’s Focus
The BJP has been tirelessly working towards strengthening its organizational structure in the state for quite some time. Recognizing the importance of connecting with the local community, party leaders and workers have been actively engaging with the people to understand their issues and concerns.

Through various initiatives and programs, the party has been able to establish a strong rapport with the residents of Odisha. This has allowed them to gain valuable insights into the problems faced by the community and develop effective strategies to address them. By actively listening to the grievances of the people, the party has been able to build trust and establish itself as a reliable political force in the state.

In addition to connecting with the local community, the Odisha BJP has also been successful in attracting leaders from rival political parties on eve of the elections. This has not only bolstered the party’s influence but has also showcased its ability to attract experienced and influential individuals.

By welcoming leaders from other parties, BJP has demonstrated its inclusive approach and willingness to work with a diverse range of individuals for the betterment of the state.

The BJP’s commitment to enhancing its organizational framework in Odisha has been commendable. Through active engagement with the local community, attracting leaders from rival parties, and strengthening its support base, the party has been able to establish itself as a formidable political force in the state since the 2019 election.

With its continued efforts, the BJP is poised to make further strides in Odisha’s political landscape.

The BJP’s internal survey conducted just before the declaration of election dates suggest that the party may face tough competition in certain constituencies due to the strong presence of the BJD. The survey indicates that the BJP will need to focus on strengthening its grassroots support and addressing local issues in order to improve its chances in these areas.

Despite these challenges, the BJP remains optimistic about its overall performance in the state. The party is confident that its development agenda and strong leadership will resonate with voters and help it secure a significant number of seats in the upcoming elections.

BJD’s Plan
The ruling BJD has been actively engaging with various communities and stakeholders to understand their needs and concerns, and has been working towards addressing them effectively. The party has also been focusing on expanding its reach and presence in rural areas, where it has traditionally enjoyed strong support.

Furthermore, the BJD has been leveraging technology and social media platforms to connect with a wider audience and communicate its message effectively. The party has been organizing rallies, public meetings, and outreach programs to mobilize support and garner public trust.

The party’s efforts to strengthen its support base and address potential challenges demonstrate its commitment to ensuring a successful outcome in the forthcoming elections. With its focus on welfare initiatives, good governance, and grassroots engagement, the party is well-positioned to secure a strong mandate and continue its legacy of serving the people of the state.

Naveen Patnaik’s popularity among the people of Odisha has remained be unaffected. It can be attributed to his clean image, efficient governance, and focus on development and welfare programs. The government’s track record of fulfilling promises, such as providing rice at a subsidized rate to the poor, building infrastructure, and improving healthcare and education facilities, has also played a significant role in winning the trust of the voters.

The BJD’s extensive grassroots presence, with a strong network of party workers and leaders at the local level, has helped them connect with the people and address their concerns effectively. This has enabled the party to maintain a strong hold on the state assembly and win elections consistently.

Despite the BJP’s attempts to challenge the BJD’s dominance in Odisha, the ruling party has remained confident in its ability to retain power and continue governing the state effectively. If that happens, Naveen Patnaik will assume power for the sixth time in a row. With a strong leadership, a loyal support base, and a focus on development and welfare, the BJD has managed to stay ahead of its competitors and maintain its position as the dominant political force in Odisha.

Decimated Congress
The Congress party, on the other hand, is struggling to regain its foothold in the state after facing significant losses in the previous elections. With internal conflicts and leadership issues plaguing the party, it remains to be seen if they can make any material difference to their exiting political status.

One of the key issues that will likely dominate the campaign trail is the development and infrastructure projects in the state. Both the ruling BJD and the BJP are expected to highlight their achievements in these areas, while also promising further progress if elected.

Overall, the upcoming elections in Odisha are shaping up to be highly competitive, with both the BJP and the BJD vying for a larger share of seats in both the Lok Sabha and the state assembly. The results of these elections would not only impact the political landscape in Odisha but also have broader implications for national politics in India.

The author is a senior journalist. Views expressed as personal.