BHUBANESWAR: The BJP-led Government at the Centre and Naveen Patnaik’s Ministry in Odisha have started functioning after a gruelling campaign schedule.While Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his team visited the State several times seeking votes, the campaign was no less tiring for the BJD supremo who addressed more than 150 election meetings besides conducting several roadshows with focus on Kendrapara Lok Sabha seat where he spent no less than two days.
During his 10 visits to Odisha for electioneering, the Prime Minister drew huge crowd at all the places. His call to elect a strong government at the Centre found support from the people who elected BJP MPs from eight seats, including five from Western Odisha.
The vote share of BJP also increased in Lok Sabha as well as Assembly elections. Similarly, the Chief Minister made Kendrapara Lok Sabha seat a prestige issue and campaigned there for two days to defeat BJP national vice-president Baijayant Panda. BJD’s Rajya Sabha MP Anubhav Mohanty was fielded from Kendrapara seat where the fight was between Naveen and Baijayant. The people of Kendrapara defeated Baijayant by a huge margin of more than 1.5 lakh votes and elected BJD nominees from all the six seats in the Lok Sabha constituency.After the formation of governments and none from Western Odisha finding a place in Modi’s Council, the people now feel let down.
People of Western Odisha elected BJP MPs from five Lok Sabha seats in the region, Bargarh, Balangir, Kalahandi, Sambalpur and Sundargarh seats. However, none of them found a place in the Modi’s Council. In the previous NDA ministry, two from Odisha were made ministers though only Jual Oram was elected in 2014 Lok Sabha polls. BJP’s tally increased one in 2014 to eight in 2019. But, the number of ministers did not increase.
Sources said there is discontentment in Western Odisha districts over the issue. The ruling BJD also tried to politicise the issue by stating that there are five from Western Odisha in the Naveen Ministry. However, the BJD supremo has also let down the people of Kendrapara by not inducting anyone in his new team. Rajya Sabha member and former minister Pratap Keshari won from Aul Assembly seat by huge margin of over 55,000 votes. Former Finance Minister Sashi Bhusan Behera and former minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak also won elections from Kendrapara and Mahakalapada Assembly segments respectively.
The issue has sparked large scale resentment among the people of Kendrapara district. As election to Patkura Assembly segment is likely to be held sometime soon, people’s resentment may get reflected in the electoral arena.
Veteran leader Bijay Mohapatra is the BJP nominee from the seat while the BJD has fielded Sabitri Agarwala, wife of late Bedprakash Agarwalla from the seat.Election to Patkura Assembly seat was postponed twice due to death of Agarwalla and later because of cyclone Fani.