In the Lok Sabha elections in 2014, the fight in Odisha was between BJP and Congress, like in most other parts of the country. The only difference was that the competition was for the second position, not the first. Since 2000, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) led by Naveen Patnaik has been in power in Odisha without any notable challenge from other political parties.
Even when the BJP was sweeping the elections all over India, Odisha still chose to stay with Patnaik. The alliance of BJD and BJP came to an end in 2009, and it still stays that way. But this doesn’t mean that Odisha was immune to the ‘Modi Wave’. The BJP and Congress fought over the second spot once BJD won a clear majority in the state. And eventually, the position of prime opposition party moved from Congress to BJP in 2014 elections.
The BJD won 20 out of 21 Lok Sabha seats and the remaining one was won by BJP when Jual Oram defeated BJD’s Dilip Kumar Tirkey in Sundargarh constituency. Congress lost all 6 constituencies they had won in 2009 elections, while BJD won 16 seats that same year. BJP didn’t win even one seat that election.
In the Odisha Assembly elections, which were also conducted in 2014, the same trend was followed. BJD, Congress and BJP won 117, 16 and 10 seats respectively out of a total of 147 seats.
Since 2014, East and North East are regions BJP is desperately trying to win over. The absence of ‘Modi Wave’ which majorly affected in huge vote share for BJP in 2014 elections, will be a drawback for them. But as Money Control reports, Patnaik is facing anti-incumbency after 19 years of reign, despite his personal popularity being very high. BJP is now hoping to harness this anti-incumbency factor to not only win the Assembly elections but also win a significant number of Lok Sabha seats. They also have recent panchayats election results to add confidence where ever other parties’ sitting seats went down while BJP gained 306 seats. They had got only 36 seats in the election before that one.