Will BJP-BJD tie up in Odisha after 15 years ahead of polls? A look at past numbers

Image Source : PTI Prime Minister Narendra Modi being welcomed by Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik upon his arrival at Chandikhol, in Jajpur district, Odisha. (File photo)

Odisha: The poll bugle for Lok Sabha Elections 2024 has been sounded and all political parties have immersed themselves in their campaigns to garner support for their respective parties. The seven-phase general elections in the country will start on April 19. As polls are due to start within a couple of weeks, political parties, apart from their campaign are also busy making new alliance partners. As the contest is going to be between two major blocs — NDA and I.N.D.I.A. — both the groups are taking a keen interest in aligning with regional parties to expand their dominance further.

Speculations have been around for a long time now that in Odisha, the ruling Biju Janata Party (BJD) under Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik may align with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the upcoming Lok Sabha and Assembly elections that will take place simultaneously. 

Amid this, Patnaik’s close aide and BJD member VK Pandian (ex-IAS officer) has made a statement saying that the BJP-BJD alliance goes beyond politics and marks the coming together of two great leaders for a larger cause.

Pandian further said that BJD doesn’t require the support of BJP to form the government in the state and neither does BJP needs BJD’s support to form government at the Centre. So the cooperation between both parties goes beyond politics. 

Since speculations are still around that both the parties will enter tie up again for Lok Sabha and Assembly polls, Pandian’s statement has further added to this buzz but the confusion exists.

Odisha has a total of 21 Lok Sabha seats but neither BJP or BJD have so far announced their candidates for Lok Sabha and Assembly polls.

The state will vote for Lok Sabha and Assembly elections simultaneously in the last four phases on May 13, May 20, May 25 and June 1. So if BJP and BJD enter into alliance, will it help the parties individually? Let’s take a look.

BJP and BJD alliance is not going to be a new thing as both the parties in the past have contested several elections together including Lok Sabha and Assembly polls.

Naveen Patnaik, who was the former minister of mines and minerals, founded Biju Janata Dal in 1997 as a breakaway faction of the Janata Dal. 

In 1998, Naveen Patnaik was named as Minister of Mines under the NDA-led Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.

In 1999, BJD contested the Lok Sabha elections in alliance with BJP and won 10 seats in Odisha.

Further in 2000 and 2004 Assembly elections, BJD managed to win the majority of seats in the state. 

In 2004, though the NDA lost the general elections, the BJP-BJD alliance in the state worked well. 

But in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, both the parties parted ways as no conclusion was reached on seat-sharing as the BJP was being offered very few seats. 

And ever since then, the two parties have not entered into any sort of alliance for Lok Sabha or Assembly polls.

So, it will be after a gap of 15 years, if BJP-BJD tie up again for the elections.

Who will benefit from this alliance if it happens?

Considering the latest remark by Patnaik’s close aide Pandian, both parties are self-sufficient to pull the elections on their own, the BJD in the state, and BJP at the national level. So the tie-up if it happens is really going to be about a larger cause.

For Naveen Patnaik to align with the BJP, it may attract more votes given the popularity of the Prime Minister and a national sentiment which seems to be in the favour of the BJP as of now.

And for the BJP, the objective behind the alliance could be to consolidate its chances of getting more seats in order to achieve its target of crossing the 400 mark.

So, in totality, the alliance if it takes shape may help both the BJP and BJD.

Moreover, according to India TV-CNX opinion poll projections, telecast before the announcement of the Lok Sabha election dates, predicted that BJP-led NDA is likely to get 378 seats while the Congress may get restricted to 37.

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