Naveen’s ground connect, clean image win votes in hustings

 Biju Janata Dal supremo Naveen Patnaik, known for his casual visits to his home district during  elections, went on extensive campaign this time.
File photo of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik with Aska Lok Sabha  winning candidate Pramila Bisoyi
File photo of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik with Aska Lok Sabha winning candidate Pramila Bisoyi

BERHAMPUR: Biju Janata Dal supremo Naveen Patnaik, known for his casual visits to his home district during  elections, went on extensive campaign this time. The tours to the interiors of Ganjam and Gajapati districts and his speckless image have helped party candidates during this election.
The successful result, observers say, was due to the change in election strategy by the BJD boss. He fielded many new faces, including seven women. He fielded Pramila Bisoyi, a self-help group crusader, for Aska Lok Sabha seat and ignored the discontent of party’s rank and file. 

According to poll pundits, earlier, his visits to Ganjam district were confined to whirlwind tours. During the 2019 General Elections, he spent a good time participating in road shows. Naveen made extensive visits to various places which brought him face to face with progress in development, the results of which had never reached him. The pace of development may have been tardy but it was the clean image of Naveen in the minds of the people which led them to repose faith in the party and the candidates chosen by him, say pundits.

The party’s tally, however, has seen a change. During 2014 election, of the 15 Assembly segments and two Lok Sabha seats spread over Ganjam and Gajapati districts, BJD won both the Parliamentary and 14 Assembly seats while the lone Paralakhemundi segment went to Congress.

In the just-concluded election, BJD retained both the Lok Sabha seats but its Assembly count came down to 12 with loss in Sanakhemundi and Mohona to Congress. Paralakhemundi segment was clinched by BJP. Though Naveen strategy blocked Narendra Modi wave, the party’s margin reduced in both the districts. 
On the other hand, the BJP’s poll percentage has increased. In Aska Lok Sabha seat, its share increased to 34.33 per cent in 2019 from 7.52 per cent in 2014. In Berhampur too, its share increased to 35.26 per cent from 17.54 per cent in 2014. 

NOTA factor

The increase in polling percentage has proved that public went to the polling centres as conscious citizens but did not find any suitable candidate.

In 2019, Aska recorded 17,344 NOTA votes while in Berhampur Parliamentary constituency, it was 14,381 votes. The irony is that despite unfulfilled promises by the BJD, a sizeable number of voters in both the districts, including the inaccessible areas, wholeheartedly voted for BJD again, only because of the clean image of Naveen, opined political observers.

Related Stories

No stories found.
The New Indian Express
www.newindianexpress.com