BHUBANESWAR: As a part of its strategy to boost the party’s chances in 2019 elections, the Odisha unit of the BJP on Friday said it wants Prime Minister Narendra Modi to contest from Puri Lok Sabha seat.
The State unit will place its proposal before the parliamentary board of the party, president of the Odisha unit Basant Panda told mediapersons here. “The parliamentary board will take a final decision in this regard,” he said.
Besides changing the political situation in Odisha where BJP has announced Mission 120 to come to power by defeating the BJD, Modi’s candidature from Puri will also have positive impact on the party’s performance in Eastern India in the Lok Sabha polls.
Assembly elections in Odisha is scheduled in May, 2019 along with the Lok Sabha polls. BJP has emerged as the main opposition to the ruling BJD after the 2017 panchayat polls in Odisha by displacing Congress to the third position. The BJP expects defeat of the ruling BJD due to anti-incumbency factor as Odisha has lagged behind in all fronts during the last 18 years. BJD has won four consecutive elections since 2000.
BJP spokesperson Golak Mohapatra said the State unit will request the Prime Minister to contest from Odisha keeping in view positive survey reports about the party’s chances in next elections. Political observers believe that Modi’s candidature will galvanise the party cadres in Odisha and neighbouring states of West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
Though the party had finished third in Puri in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, its candidate Ashok Sahu had polled more than two lakh votes. BJD candidate Pinaki Mishra got 5,23,161 votes against 2,59,800 votes polled by Sucharita Mohanty of the Congress. The BJP candidate secured 2,15,763 votes.
Of the seven Assembly segments under Puri Lok Sabha constituency, only one seat (Chilika) is with the BJP while BJD candidates won in the remaining six seats - Balipatna, Pipili, Satyabadi, Puri, Brahmagiri and Ranpur.Out of the 21 Lok Sabha seats in Odisha, BJP had won only Sundargarh seat in 2014 polls.