Home Politics Lotus rising: BJP's amazing sunrise in Odisha

Lotus rising: BJP’s amazing sunrise in Odisha

The BJP’s winds have always failed to make landfall on the East Coast of India. You can observe this phenomenon very clearly in this NASA image of the Modi tsunami circa 2014:

Indian elections 2014 results
2014 General Election results map of India (image source: Wikipedia)

India’s East Coast: West Bengal (42 MPs), Odisha (21 MPs), Andhra Pradesh (25 MPs), Telangana (17 MPs) and Tamil Nadu (40 MPs, including Puducherry). That accounts for 145 Lok Sabha seats and you can count the number of BJP MPs on your fingers (possibly of one hand).

- Advertisement - - Article resumes -

This lack of influence on India’s East Coast is a concern for the BJP both from a long term and a short term view. In the short term for 2019, the BJP’s massive mandates (over 90% strike rate) in UP, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Himachal and Uttarakhand are all subject to attrition. This makes it crucial for the BJP to break new ground.

In the long term, we see that the party that has the largest catchment area will be the one that generally stays in power. The most glaring example of this is 2004, which was a waveless election in which the Congress won 145 seats, merely 6 seats ahead of the BJP’s 139. How did the Congress manage this 6 seat margin? Because the Congress party’s larger national spread gave it seats everywhere from J&K to Tamil Nadu and from Manipur to Gujarat. Who can forget how much the BJP as a party and India as nation paid for this 6 seat margin?

In the last 1 week, even as political animals have been glued to the gripping saga of Uttar Pradesh and 4 other states, a whole new horizon has unfolded for the BJP in Odisha. A sunrise in a large state with 21 seats is sweet music to the BJP’s ears. It is another smack on the faces of jealous critics still smarting from the BJP wave in the North East.

The trends and results of the first four phases of the Odisha Panchayat polls show that it is well and truly “Burey Din” for intellectuals who are struggling to reassure themselves that BJP is a Hindi speaking, Brahmin-Bania party of the cow belt.

That is a tremendous body blow for the ruling BJD which had been sitting pretty on as much as 77% of these seats! Back in 2012, the Congress was a distant second with just 13% of the seats and the BJP had only earned itself a pittance of 2% of the seats.

In these elections, Naveen Patnaik’s BJD had everything going for them : they had won as many as 20 of the 21 Lok Sabha seats in Odisha and a brutal 117 of the 147 seats in the Assembly. And we all know that the ruling party generally enjoys a massive advantage in local polls, especially when it is totally dominant with 17 years of continuous rule under its belt. What happened in Odisha therefore, is a watershed moment in the politics of the state.

The BJP is also relishing the fact that it has now replaced the Congress as the main opposition in Odisha. In other words, Odisha is now “Congress mukt”.

The frustration showed well and truly on the face of the BJD when the first phase results came out.

From the BJP’s point of view, a statement like this is not to be criticized, but to be savored and enjoyed. That was their reaction to the 1st phase results. By the time the results from the 2ndd phase came in, the frustration in the BJD camp had been replaced by outright anger.

Indeed, there are no two ways about the fact that Naveen babu has come down with a fever after these results.

There is an additional layer of irony to the predicament of the incumbent BJD. Please note that these results here are “unofficial results”. That means the votes get counted publicly and everyone knows the results, but the Election Commission doesn’t actually announce “official results” until the conclusion of ALL rounds of panchayat polls. According to this Odisha TV report, the BJD was quite happy with this arrangement of TV channels announcing “unofficial results” of previous phases before the entire election was over. They were hoping to ride a rising wave of public sentiment with each phase. This has now totally backfired, because news of the BJP wave on television is sending BJD fortunes into a tailspin. The BJD can only gnash its teeth.

It is a tremendous credit to ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and Jual Oram, to BJP’s workers and RSS karyakartas of Odisha that they have managed to create a whole new frontier for the BJP. They did it with all the odds stacked against them. With this, the tottering Congress has been finished in yet another state.

The congratulations came right from the top.


The usual critics are bound to make fun of the Prime Minister for talking about a “mere Panchayat election”. They will see it as a sign of BJP’s desperation for electoral victory. Because they see only what they want to see. What they don’t see is that the Prime Minister congratulating karyakartas on the outcome of a Panchayat poll is arguably more important than even a state assembly election.

These polls were contested by the BJP’s grassroot workers. It is their hard work that built the BJP brick by brick in every village, block, district and mandal. By letting the grassroot workers know that they are close to his heart, that their contributions are recognized and appreciated, the Prime Minister is setting the BJP up for success.

For the BJP, the state of Odisha has opened up at the right time. The buzz around the BJP has been generated a little over two years before the Assembly polls, just the right amount of time required for the party to work it up to a fever pitch. In the meanwhile, we can expect some realpolitik, as the last remnants in the Congress ranks desert their party and become force multipliers for BJP. An additional advantage is that the Assembly polls in Odisha are set to coincide with the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and Modi’s image will give the party an extra bit of wind in its sails.

The challenge for the BJP, of course, is to find a face that can match Naveen babu. As of now, Dharmendra Pradhan is the likely front-runner by all accounts.

Just one final thought : as a wild card, don’t rule out Jual Oram for the post of President of India.

Share This Post With Your Friends & Fans:
We need your support to survive in the media industry. Please consider paying us for the content we produce:

To know more about these payments, please click here.


Election 2019 Final Tally

Check the final seat tally and other post election coverage

Smriti Irani’s aide in Amethi shot dead, his son says some Congress workers were not happy with BJP’s ‘Vijay Yatra’

Smriti Irani had defeated Rahul Gandhi on his home turf of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh by a margin of 55,120 votes

Left has failed, but the ‘Right’ does not understand Modi as well

With the left looking irrelevant, the right needs to get its act together.

Meerut: Communal tension after a video showing Muslim men beating up shopkeepers goes viral

A viral video where Muslim men are beating up a shopkeeper has triggered communal tensions in Meerut

Rajdeep Sardesai thinks Narendra Modi should thank Masood Azhar, among others, for BJP’s victory

As a long term Congress loyalist media person, Rajdeep Sardesai is yet to come to terms that Modi won a second term with thumping majority

Rahul Gandhi upset that senior Congress leaders didn’t shout ‘Chowkidar Chor Hai’ enough, lashes out on them for party’s defeat

Amusingly, though Rahul Gandhi had indeed offered to resign, the CWC, that is chaired by himself, had unanimously rejected the resignation and asked him to reconstruct the party

A tribute to OpIndia’s fallen star

On 13th May 2019, Devandhu Rajput succumbed to cancer.
NYT peddles Modi 2.0 as victory of India's most divisive leader

Dear New York Times, India has chosen Modi 2.0, deal with it

When India gives a thumping, unprecedented, overwhelming victory to a man who has made every single Indian feel proud of their nation and heritage, the NYT's heartburn is expected. 

Journalist wants to ‘crowdfund’ a parallel parliament so that Atishi Marlena can become an MP

The 'neutral media' meltdown seems to have reached its peak after AAP's Atishi Marlena came in third in East Delhi Lok Sabha seat
Rana Ayyub uses the 2015 murder of Akhlaq to peddle fear and victimhood for Muslims, ignores Hindus killed for their religion

PM Modi, I am a Charvaka Indian liberal, and this is my wish list

An atheist Indian liberal writes to PM Modi on what he wishes for in the next five years
Subscribe to Day's Top Stories

Latest articles

Connect with us

165,201FansLike
143,744FollowersFollow
65,602SubscribersSubscribe
Share This Post With Your Friends & Fans: