BHUBANESWAR: Padampur bypoll has proved how efficient electoral micro management can be. The Biju Janata Dal executed its electoral strategy with clinical precision and succeeded in avenging the defeat inflicted by its nearest rival BJP in the recently held Dhamnagar by-election.
Fresh from the Dhamnagar debacle, the ruling party started on a nervous note and kept its election campaign low-key all through except the day Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik made a whirlwind tour to the constituency just two days before the bypoll.
The BJD strategy was very clear from the start. No pomp and show. Just focus on each panchayat as a micro unit and keep in touch with voters till the end. Specific jobs were assigned to ministers, MLAs, elected representatives of zilla parishad, panchayat samitis and gram panchayats. There was constant reporting from micro unit to zonal unit and none of the leaders in charge of election management were allowed to leave the areas they are assigned.
On the other hand, the BJP fresh from the Dhamnagar success launched a high decibel campaign from day one to give an impression that the party is way ahead of BJD in all respect. The saffron party which always took pride in better election management miserably failed to stay connected with its booth committees as most of the leaders of the party wanted to stay in public eye during rallies and road shows with union ministers.
Though visible at even remotest villages of the constituency with poster and banner, the public contact and connect of the BJP was very poor as compared to the BJD. “We didn’t work in tandem as the BJD did. There was absolutely no coordination as the election managers were mostly inexperienced. Many of them have not fought a single election,” said a senior leader of the BJP. A regional feeling was created that the leaders from coastal districts were not acceptable among the voters which cost the party dearly, the sources said.
On other hand, the BJD utilised all its human resources from the coastal belt to the best of party’s advantage. In the last three days including on the day when Naveen visited on December 2, the BJD wrested back whatever advantage BJP hoped it would pocket from its early inroads. And the results are for all to see.
Another reason where BJP failed was it had no definite plan to corner the captive votes of the Congress which the BJD successfully managed by their own terms. Even BJD leaders were open about this fact. Minister and senior BJD leader Samir Ranjan Dash said, it was natural that traditional Congress voters would never vote for BJP and prefer BJD.