Election 2019: How Naveen Patnaik Will Influence The Polls
Source: Naveen Patnaik Twitter Handle 

Election 2019: How Naveen Patnaik Will Influence The Polls

In the 2014 Lok Sabha election, the Biju Janata Dal had swept 20 of the 21 seats in Odisha and Naveen Patnaik has been heading the state for four terms now as chief minister. But with Jay Panda joining the Bharatiya Janata Party, will Patnaik still be able hold the edge in Odisha?

Naveen has an edge, but his party is significantly dented, according to Rajesh Mahapatra, former editor-at-large at Hindustan Times.

“Jay Panda managed to swing a certain segment in favour of the BJP,” he told BloombergQuint in an interview. “Narendra Modi’s post-Pulwama nationalist narrative also had an impact on urban voters.”

Senior journalist Sandeep Sahu said there’s a certain amount of anti-incumbency but that has nothing to do with Naveen Patnaik as the leader himself.

“The BJP has come up big in this election and will substantially add to its vote share in the Lok Sabha,” he said. “Odisha generally goes with the same party when it comes to centre and state elections. But this time there seems to be a trend of split voting with people wanting Modi at the centre and Naveen in the state.”

The Biju Janata Dal supremo recently said he had no national ambitions and was willing to join hands with anyone who supported Odisha’s needs.

But in case of a hung Parliament whom will he support?

“Patnaik is leaning towards the NDA and over the last five years he has supported the Modi government whenever it needed support in Parliament or outside,” Sahu said. “Patnaik has backed the Modi government on both legislative and controversial issues, including the NRC, demonetisation, etc.”

Mahapatra said he would not predict which way Patnaik would go.

“He (Patnaik) has friends on both sides. Post Fani cyclone, the state finances have taken a hit and so he will wait till he gets clarity as to who will form the government and side with them.”

Watch the full discussion here:

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