Thursday, October 22, 2020
Home Opinions The Electoral Machine: Explaining Naveen Patnaik's unparalleled electoral success in Odisha even in the...

The Electoral Machine: Explaining Naveen Patnaik’s unparalleled electoral success in Odisha even in the face of TsuNaMo

He understands his voters, he knows his limitations, his ambitions and he concentrates his energies only where his strength lies

In April 2014, I was driving my in-laws to their voting booth in BJB College Arts block, Bhubaneswar. Out of curiosity, I asked my mother-in-law whom she would be voting for. As Odisha conducts simultaneous elections, she said Conch for the state and Lotus for Delhi. As she went into the booth and came out, I asked her did she vote the way she told me? She replied in negative. She had pressed Conch in both EVMs. The reason, as she explained to me was, she was confused which EVM is for Lok Sabha and which one is for Vidhan Sabha. She was worried about “What if my vote would not have gone for Naveen Patnaik”. She wasn’t anti-BJP or anything. In fact, she supports Prime Minister Modi. But she by no means could have voted against Naveen Patnaik. She saw it as her duty to vote for Naveen Patnaik even if it means she misses out on voting for Modi.

As they say, it’s difficult to fight someone in politics, who has become an emotion. And Naveen Patnaik enjoys that status among Odisha electors. Yes, he has ruled for 2 decades now and Odisha is still not doing great on many parameters. But ask the voters, they will attribute this to the ill-performing BJD ministers. Anything against Naveen Patnaik is taken personally. This is almost like the Modi cult at a national level, which is why Rahul Gandhi paid a price by calling Modi “Chor“. 

On 29th May, for the 5th time, Naveen Patnaik took the oath of Chief Minister at the IDCO exhibition grounds at Bhubaneswar. By the time his 5th term ends in 2024, he would be surpassing the record of Pawan Kumar Chamling, the ex-CM of Sikkim, who has served the state for 24 years and 165 days, to become the longest-serving CM ever. He will also leave behind the other stalwart, late Jyoti Basu who served as CM of West Bengal for 23 years and 137 days. While Jyoti Basu’s regime was a vote for left, the party kept on winning Bengal even after Basu, in Odisha people have not voted BJD to power. They have voted Naveen Patnaik, with a thumping majority.

Right after 2014 general polls, BJP had chosen their next battlegrounds. Odisha and West Bengal. BJP for the first time held their national executive meeting in Odisha in 2014. Since then PM Modi, Shah and other cabinet ministers have paid countless visits to Odisha to attend party programme or for inaugural functions. BJP carried out a massive booth level programme, “Mo Booth Sabuthu Majboot” to mobilize booth level workers. The result showed in 2017 panchayat elections where the party won 306 out of 849 panchayats. This was 8.5 times their previous record. The party mood was jubilant and celebrations erupted at party HQ near Ram Mandir. Someone sitting 8 KMs away near Aerodrome area was taking note.

When the results were declared for 2019, Modi Tsunami swept the country. Regional and national parties, as well as coalitions, fell like a house of cards. But one man celebrated for his notable work in dealing with cyclones and calamities, not only withstood the Tsunami but completely destroyed it. At the face of Modi Tsunami and 20 years of anti-incumbency, Naveen won 12 out of 21 parliamentary constituencies and 112 out of 147 assembly constituencies, a loss of a meagre 5 seats from his 2014 tally. So what explains this unparalleled success of Naveen babu in Indian politics?

People say Naveen wins because of There-is-no-Alternative (TINA). Well TINA can’t describe this unprecedented electoral success. And even if it were to be TINA, this talks volumes about the quality of opposition than anything else. Indian elections are complex. Get 5 Modi fans and ask them why they have voted for Modi, highly likely that they will give you 5 different reasons. Attributing electoral wins to a single reason is lazy and oversimplification of things. 

In 2015, a huge chit fund scam was unearthed in Odisha. Many BJD leaders including some MLAs and MPs spent a long time in jail. Some of them were suspended from BJD to be re-inducted later. Some of them or their sons have been given BJD ticket in 2019 and won the election as well. However, Naveen remains unscathed. None of this has made any dent to his Mr. Clean image. People see this as a good man surrounded by thugs; however, the good man has ensured the thugs are punished.

What also helps Naveen is his non confrontational attitude. Post 2014, when BJP made Odisha their battle ground, state BJP leaders went berserk in their attack on Naveen. But he remained calm and almost never lost his cool. His responses were measured, dignified and concise. A departure in today’s confrontational politics which some of his rabble rousing contemporaries practice.

One of the most important aspect of Naveen’s unparalleled success is his resolved focus. He has no ambiguity in terms of his political ambition. His sole aim is to rule Odisha and that’s where he puts his energy in. The result is for everyone to see. Compare this with other regional stalwarts, their national ambition and their dwindling political fortunes. Everyone wants a bigger pie in Delhi. Everyone is an expansionist. And that’s where they lose focus.

People on Social Media say that they don’t even know what Naveen does and yet he wins elections after elections. But that’s exactly where the secret lies. He isn’t the one who blows his trumpet. He understands his voters, he knows his limitations, his ambitions and he concentrates his energies only where his strength lies. A cursory look at his pre electoral welfare schemes, his campaigns and strategies were a give away that his appeal for MP elections were always half hearted. His focus was steadily on where his heart lies and it was Odisha Vidhan Sabha.

There is no doubt that BJP has made tremendous gains in Odisha in 2019. An 8 fold increase in parliamentary seats and more than double in assembly elections. Vote share too has almost doubled in both the elections. But numbers are for political strategists and psephologists. After a 19 years incumbency, winning a mere 23 seats out of 147, in a state which BJP had made its battleground having declared mission 120, is an abject failure. There are reasons like lack of sangathan, internal sabotage, no popular face among state leaders. But if this has to be summarised, it won’t b wrong to say that the reason was they were up against Naveen Patnaik. State BJP simply doesn’t have the ammunition to deal with the man.

As Naveen gears up for the 5th term, there are many challenges that lies in front of him. A cyclone ravaged state needs to be revived and put back on the growth track. Odisha fares among the bottom is almost all HRD indicators. Healthcare, farming, education and employment needs immediate attention. Naveen Patnaik has got a massive mandate and he must deliver. Here is wishing Naveen 5.0 all the best for the next 5.

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

Related Articles

Trending now

“Your outrage against Hinduphobic content on OTT platforms may actually be fuelling more such content”- Here is what an industry insider says

OTT platforms are not hit if a movie or a series if boycotted for Hinduphobic content as people have already paid for subscription

No, India Today, Katrina Kaif in yellow saree for Navratri is not offensive to Hindus, this is where you got it wrong

India Today tries to be holier than thou while trying to paint Hindus as trolls over Eros Now's vulgar Navratri posts

CM Yogi distributes relief amount of Rs 113.21 crore among the flood-affected farmers in Uttar Pradesh

CM Yogi distributed the relief amount to the flood-affected farmers in 19 districts of the state by online transaction.

‘Mughal Prince Tucy’ lashes out on AIMIM’s Asaduddin Owaisi, calls him ‘Bewakoof, and Gadha’

Prince Tucy said that when the people of Hyderabad are dealing with horrific floods, MP Asaduddin Owaisi is busy doing poll campaign in Bihar.

Is Modi govt giving Coronavirus vaccines for ‘free’ only to Bihar? No, that’s not how it works

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday while releasing the BJP manifesto in Bihar for upcoming elections said that the BJP promises free coronavirus vaccines in Bihar, whenever the vaccine is made available.

All you need to know about Mohammad Shahabuddin, the dreaded mafia don and once Lalu Yadav’s close aide who made Siwan tremble

The Siwan district, in the 90s and early 21st century, became his fiefdom and Mohammad Shahabuddin was its unchallenged ruler.

Recently Popular

UK: 37-year-old paedophile named Rehan Baig jailed for raping chickens to death while his wife filmed it

Rhan Baig's wife had also joined him in the videos and at one point he alternated between having sex with his wife and the chickens.

‘Comedian’ Agrima Joshua, who calls herself ‘feminist’, passes offensive sexual comments against woman due to political differences

Agrima Joshua had earlier found herself in a controversy after insulting the Shivaji Maharaj memorial during a performance.

Eros Now apologises for publishing vulgar Hinduphobic content on Navratri

After netizens outraged over vulgar posts on Navratri, Eros Now issued an apology.

Remember Sheena Bora case? Param Bir Singh was the IG of Konkan range, the site where her body was dumped

Param Bir Singh knew that Sheena Bora was missing. He had asked Rahul Mukerjea to file a 'missing persons' report. Sheena, however, was never reported as 'missing'.

Paris: Two Muslim women stabbed under Eiffel Tower by white women shouting “dirty Arabs”

Two Muslim women were stabbed repeatedly under the Eiffel Tower on Sunday night by two white women who called them "dirty Arabs".

France: Charlie Hebdo cartoons projected on government building to express solidarity with deceased teacher who was beheaded by Islamic terrorist

Days after the barbaric beheading of teacher Samuel Paty on the streets of Paris by a terrorist for showing the cartoons of Prophet Mohammad to his students, support continues to pour in for the deceased teacher.
- Advertisement -

Remembering Lalu’s Jungle Raj in Bihar: When an IAS officer’s wife was raped for two years by an RJD leader

During Lalu's Jungle Raj in Bihar, IAS Officer BB Vishwas's wife Chamba Biswas was raped for 2 years by RJD leader Mrityunjay Yadav

“Your outrage against Hinduphobic content on OTT platforms may actually be fuelling more such content”- Here is what an industry insider says

OTT platforms are not hit if a movie or a series if boycotted for Hinduphobic content as people have already paid for subscription

Mumbai Police threatens Republic TV executive editor with imprisonment for refusing to reveal source of Hansa report in TRP scam

Republic TV Executive Editor warned by Mumabi Police that he will be booked under IPC sections 174 and 179 if does not give source of Hansa report

No, India Today, Katrina Kaif in yellow saree for Navratri is not offensive to Hindus, this is where you got it wrong

India Today tries to be holier than thou while trying to paint Hindus as trolls over Eros Now's vulgar Navratri posts

UP: Police find conversion of over 200 people to Buddhism fake, people were asked to sign conversion papers disguised as govt scheme

After reports of 236 Valmiki community members converting to Buddhisim, police find no evidence of conversion in Karehra village

Lucknow: Jama Mazar caretaker ‘Kale Baba’ caught running sex racket, video goes viral

The caretaker has allegedly confessed to police that he was sexually exploiting women and engaging them in illicit activities in the name of curing infertility and other ailments.

Meghalaya: Khasi student body puts up racist posters saying “All Meghalaya Bengalis are Bangladeshis”

The banners put up by Khasi Students Union read, ''All Meghalaya Bengalis are Bangladeshis'' and "Khasiland for Khasis; Foreigners Go Away".

CM Yogi distributes relief amount of Rs 113.21 crore among the flood-affected farmers in Uttar Pradesh

CM Yogi distributed the relief amount to the flood-affected farmers in 19 districts of the state by online transaction.

UP Police Sub-Inspector Intesar Ali suspended for keeping beard without permission

SP Abhishek Singh said that police personnel other than Sikhs are allowed to keep a beard only after getting the requisite permission.

‘Mughal Prince Tucy’ lashes out on AIMIM’s Asaduddin Owaisi, calls him ‘Bewakoof, and Gadha’

Prince Tucy said that when the people of Hyderabad are dealing with horrific floods, MP Asaduddin Owaisi is busy doing poll campaign in Bihar.

Connect with us

245,563FansLike
465,990FollowersFollow
18,800SubscribersSubscribe