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Assembly Elections: Odisha set to get its first BJP CM in the state’s history, party crosses majority mark

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is poised to oust BJD Chief and incumbent Chief Minister of Odisha, Naveen Patnaik, as per the trends in the Odisha assembly results. According to the Election Commission of India’s website, the BJP is becoming the single largest party in the state. It is leading on 76 seats including in Bargarh, Kalahandi, Balangir, Puri, Sambalpur, and Keonjhar constituencies. Notably, 74 is the coveted halfway mark in the state assembly which has a total strength of 147 seats. Naveen Patnaik-led BJD is ahead on 53 seats while Congress is leading on 13 seats. 

If the numbers hold, Odisha may get its first BJP Chief Minister in the state’s history. The BJP had fought the elections on the issue of Odisha Asmita asserting that while the BJD is being run from backdoors by a Tamil-born IAS turned politician, it will make an Odia-born person the Chief Minister of the state. 

While BJP is very likely to form the government in Odisha, it is not clear who will be the Chief Minister. The party didn’t project a CM candidate before the elections.

Additionally, if the trends don’t reverse it will transform state politics, ushering in a post-Naveen era, which has been the buzz among political circles. Naveen Patnaik has been the Chief Minister of Odisha since March 2000. Had he won this time, he would have become the country’s longest-serving Chief Minister in August, surpassing Sikkim’s ex-CM Pawan Chamling. 

Although facing anti-incumbency in his own constituency regions due to ‘Dadan Khati‘ and concerns about his alleged deteriorating health, he is leading in both the constituencies he contested, Kantabanji and Hinjli, but by narrow margins, less then 5000 votes.

During the campaigning, the BJP had launched scathing attacks on the BJD government over the issue of Odia Asmita (pride). It asserted that an Odisha-born person should be the Chief Minister of the state rather than a Tamil-born retired IAS officer running the government without accountability. According to the BJP, BJD was running a proxy government in the name of Naveen Patnaik and Tamil-born bureaucrat turned BJD leader VK Pandian was functioning as the ‘de-facto’ CM who was controlling and dictating terms to 77-year-old Patnaik whose health is allegedly deteriorating.

From an election rally on 29th May, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed concerns about the deteriorating health of BJD Chief, Naveen Patnaik. The development came a day after a video of CM Patnaik went viral in which his alleged proxy, VK Pandian, was seen grabbing his shaking hands to hide them from the public. PM Modi stressed that people who are close to CM Patnaik have expressed concerns about how his health has deteriorated drastically in the last year. He added that it has led many of them to suspect that there could be a conspiracy behind it.

PM Modi announced that after forming the government in the state, the saffron party will form a special committee to probe whether the lobby that is running state in Patnaik’s name is responsible for his poor health.

Furthermore, Lok Sabha and state assembly elections were held simultaneously in Odisha, the state had given a split verdict in the previous election. Contrastingly, the state has voted decisively in favour of the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections. As per ECI trends, the BJP is leading on 19 seats out of 21 Lok Sabha seats.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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