Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Odisha on verge of being Modi-fied

NITI Central, April 2, 2014
Pratap Mohanty2 Apr 2014

The unprecedented popular fervour for Narendra Modi has successfully elevated BJP’s poll prospects in Odisha. Despite organisational lapses and a sedate State leadership, the party has virtually replaced main Opposition Congress and successfully challenging ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) as its prime political rival.  So much so that BJP has emerged as the top contender in at least 10 of the State’s 21 Lok Sabha constituencies.
Analysts say the miracle was triggered by Narendra Modi’s two public meetings in Odisha. The first was in February 11 in State capital Bhubaneswar and the next in March 14 at Sambalpur. “The entire political scenario is set to swing more in BJP’s favour after Modi’s three political outings in Western Odisha – Nuapada, Bolangir and Rourkela – on April 4,” senior State leader and member of party’s national executive Bijoy Mohapatra said.
While Monday’s CNN-IBN-Lokniti-CSDS national election tracker projects 3-7 Lok Sabha seats for BJP in Odisha, reports from ground zero suggest the party could make it in at least 10 LS constituencies after Modi’s April 4 visit.
Obviously, the meetings are all in western Odisha which will be going to polls in first phase on April 10. While 10 constituencies are going to polls in phase 1. The remaining 11 are in coastal Odisha.
The growing eminence of BJP in west Odisha virtually negates the CNN-IBN-Lokniti-CSDS perception that BJD is comfortably placed in the region. In fact, the ruling party (BJD) is seemingly struggling in Kalahandi, Bolangir, Sundargarh, Sambalpur and Bargarh LS segments where BJP’s sway is evident.
The survey says south Odisha is going witness a contest between Congress and BJP. That’s not true if reports from the ground are to be believed. The five LS seats – Berhampur, Aska, Kandhamal, Koraput and Nawrangpur in this region are likely to be locked in triangular contest involving BJD, BJP and Congress.
And in coastal Odisha it is going to be a straight fight between BJD and BJP. That’s where the survey is right.
The CNN-IBN-Lokniti-CSDS national election tracker predicts 10-16 seats for BJD and 0-4 LS seats for Congress.  While BJD still has the grip over more number of seats, its fortunes may nosedive substantially in the days to come. Particularly after Modi’s April 4 outings in western and later in coastal Odisha.
As per the survey’s 0-4 projections for Congress, the party has no safe seats this election. Local reports suggest Congress has only some presence in Koraput and Nawrangpur where the party may make it to the top ring of contesting players. In Koraput party’s hope lies with former Union Minister Giridhar Gamang and in Nawarangpur with 2009 winner Pradip Majhi.
Since the coastal belt has more numbers of urban pockets and young educated voters, they are likely to support Modi making the BJP’s polls prospects much better than what it looks now.
For all you know, Odisha’s Lok Sabha results might come as a pleasant surprise for BJP that was struggling for a mere political foothold just three months ago. Now it is on the verge of being Modified.

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