How Modi’s Wave Was Thwarted In Odisha
“It is not Modi’s wave, it is Modi’s tornado which will sweep the poll in Odisha for BJP in the parliamentary election,” was the version of a very senior and reputed journalist of Odisha in one of his TV discussion. It is not only he, the entire media circle, intelligentsia, politicians and people of all walks of life were of the same view that the BJP would capture about half of the Lok Sabha seats of Odisha and will have a significant presence in the State Assembly. The first meeting of Narendra Modi at Bhubaneswar was a grand success and it had tremendous impact on the people of Odisha, specially the state capital and its adjoining districts. Modi had visited Odisha for three times and had addressed seven meetings in different zones and the entire political atmosphere of Odisha was surcharged with Modi’s wave and his message of development and good governance. The youth and the students from colleges and universities had largely attended the meetings and vowed in public to vote for Modi to see him as the PM of the country. There were large turn outs in the meetings and people were very responsive. It was common talk in Odisha, by different sections of the people, that they would vote for the Lok Sabha candidates of BJP in order to make Modi the Prime Minister. Even in the strongholds of BJD, people were openly saying that they would vote for BJD for the state Assembly and BJP for the Lok Sabha. Modi’s wave was gradually converted into a tornado and everybody felt about its gravity. In such an atmosphere election for 21 Lok Sabha constituencies and 147 Assembly constituencies were held and the fates of candidates were sealed in the EVM.
Exit polls were conducted by different media agencies who predicted about the all India results of polls and that of Odisha. Except one agency i.e. Times Now, almost all other agencies had shown a massive mandate for NDA and BJP in the national level which not only came out to be true but also surpassed their assessment. But their assessment for Odisha was found to be wrong only after the counting of votes. According to CNN, BJP in Odisha would capture 3 to 7 Lok Sabha seats whereas ABP’s prediction was 10, India TV was 7, India Today’s 5 to 7 and Today’s Chanakya 8+2.
I had the occasion of visiting some parts of the state during the election campaigning and according to my assessment BJP would get 7+ seats in the Lok Sabha, 25+ for State Assembly and BJD , the ruling party about 80 seats, just to form the government. On the query of media, I gave this assessment, which conforms to the predictions of different media agencies who conducted the exit polls. Two senior leaders of the ruling BJD had told to the press that they would get 80 to 85 seats for the State Assembly and will from the government. The media and the people in Odisha were almost of the same view and predicted that they would get a weak government. this time. But surprisingly, it was found after the counting of votes on May 16 that people have given a massive mandate in favour of BJD, giving 117 out of 147 seats for the State Assembly and 20 seats out of 21 for the Lok Sabha. This is something unimaginable. How this could be possible? Can we say that Naveen Patnaik’s wave was only found after the EVMs were opened and counting started?
One can, at best, argue that the people of Odisha have given a massive mandate to Naveen Patnaik as the opposition parties failed to provide an alternative to him for the state government but how his achievement for Lok Sabha was proportionately much better than the State Assembly in face of a terrific wave in favour of Modi . After the election result was announced, some people, and some media agencies argued that there was an undercurrent in the favour of BJD which was not visible. But contrary to this, people in the state saw and felt a violent Modi’s storm which they predicted would sweep the parliamentary Poll in favour of BJP like it happened in the other parts of the country. In such a situation can there be any invisible undercurrent for BJD? It is common knowledge of the people and political analysts that when there is any wave in favour of a party and its leader, it sweeps the poll despite the organisational weakness.
Press and people were of the view that anti-incumbency factor is working in Odisha and the image of Naveen Patnaik and his government. has been tarnished due to several scams like Mining scam, Coal, Dal, NAREGA and chit fund scam etc. Law and order situation has been completely deteriorated and the security of the people has been threatened. There was frustration and anger among the youth and students, for whom no opportunity of employment has been created by the government. Farmers all over the state are frustrated due to the anti-farmer policies of the government. and about 400 of them have committed suicide in the course of the last three years. With this background, the ruling BJD was fighting the election and there was absolutely no wave in favour of Naveen Patnaik or his party. Contrary to this, the entire political atmosphere was surcharged with Modi’s wave. After the counting of votes everybody was astonished to see that the Modi’s wave was thwarted in Odisha and Patnaik got the massive mandate of the people.
How could this happen? How the prediction of different media agencies, Press and Versions of the people had been negative by the EVM which is alleged to have betrayed the people of the state in 2009 election. For the greater interest of the people and the democracy, it requires a high level and independent probe.
By Biswabhusan Harichandan
(The author is a senior BJP leader)