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Odisha Exit Polls Confirm That BJP's Calibrated Attack on BJD Has Worked

The India Today- Axis predicts that the saffron party will win 18 to 20 seats from the state in the Lok Sabha.

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With most of the exit polls predicting a massive mandate for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Lok Sabha election, the results of which will be declared on 4 June, the forecast, as far as Odisha is concerned, has been on expected lines.

Almost all the exit surveys have put the saffron party way ahead of the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD), though the numbers may appear a tad exaggerated. Given the seriousness with which the BJP carried out its campaign for the first time in the state, it was expected that Narendra Modi's party would perform much better in both the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.

The India Today- Axis predicts that the saffron party will win 18 to 20 seats from the state in the Lok Sabha.

The campaign was focused and sharp, and the party’s "friend in need," Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, was made to toil hard in the excruciating summer heat to counter the onslaught he faced, including things personal, ranging from his reported poor health to being a "stooge" in the hands of his Man Friday VK Pandian, the bureaucrat-turned-politician.

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The BJP, which had won 12 out of the 21 Lok Sabha seats in 2019, according to the exit polls, is all set to make a clean sweep in the Lok Sabha elections. The India Today- Axis predicts that the saffron party will win 18 to 20 seats because the voting percentage in favour of the outfit has leapfrogged, reportedly from 38.4 percent in 2019 to 51 percent this time.

Similarly, News Today’s Chanakya has given it 16 seats, four to BJD and one to Congress. The rest have more or less predicted on similar lines with minor deviations in numbers. The BJD, on the other hand, has trashed the projections of exit polls and asserted that it will win 12 Lok Sabha seats, while six will go to the BJP, and a tough fight is going on in four seats.

There is a reason behind BJD dismissing the current assessments — exit polls were proven wrong in 2014 and 2019 as far as Odisha is concerned.

Now, for the Assembly elections, the India Today-Axis My India exit poll gives 62 - 80 seats to both parties in the 147-member assembly in the state. The exit poll that the BJD claims to have conducted mandates itself with a clear three-fourth majority with 117 seats out of 147 and a meagre 11 seats for the BJP. But, this is highly unlikely.

It was long predicted that the BJP would perform much better in Odisha in these twin elections for a number of reasons.

Elections were hard fought where words were not minced between the two principal rivals: each accusing the other of doing precious little for Odisha, shedding crocodile tears in the name of development, and, most importantly, the war of words over the missing keys of the Ratna Bhandar — the treasury of Sri Jagannath Temple in Puri, the importance of which both parties swear their allegiance and faith to.

In so far as the issue of the missing keys, the BJP made a well-calibrated attack all through the campaign, blaming the BJD for goofing up things since 2018, which has deeply hurt the sentiments of the Odias for whom Lord Jagannath is a symbol of spirituality and pride.

The bastion Naveen Patnaik had built assiduously over the last quarter of the century seems to be facing tremors because the BJP has reportedly turned the tables on him.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in one of his last election rallies in the state, did not hesitate to say that he is willing to "sacrifice" his friendship with Naveen for the sake of Odisha’s development. And, the voters have moved a long way in life to sense that voting for the BJD in the Lok Sabha would be a waste of time and energy since the party would have little voice in the parliament.

They don’t want their votes for Lok Sabha to go junk.

The India Today- Axis predicts that the saffron party will win 18 to 20 seats from the state in the Lok Sabha.
The India Today- Axis predicts that the saffron party will win 18 to 20 seats from the state in the Lok Sabha.
The India Today- Axis predicts that the saffron party will win 18 to 20 seats from the state in the Lok Sabha.

(Srimoy Kar is a senior journalist based in Odisha. This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)

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