Odisha Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal chief Naveen Patnaik is set to secure a fifth straight term. The party is on course for another landslide the Assembly elections. With leads for 146 out of 147 seats available, the Biju Janata Dal was ahead in 114 seats, just three below its 2014 performance.
The BJP looked set to replace the Congress as the main Opposition party, leading in 21 seats. The Congress was ahead in nine seats. The incumbent Patnaik government had 117 seats in the outgoing legislature.
The Congress was the main Opposition in 2014, winning 16 seats. The BJP was placed third with 10 seats.
Having served four straight terms, Patnaik looked likely to face anti-incumbency this time. The BJP appeared most likely to gain from the Biju Janata Dal’s loss, relegating the Congress to third place.
Congress MLA Manoj Kumar Jena was shot at near Lanjipalli here in Ganjam district early in the morning, before counting began, the Odisha Sun Times reported.
Exit polls for the Odisha Assembly elections had predicted major gains for the BJP, though none gave the saffron party a realistic chance of forming the government in the state. The Axis-My India poll gave the Biju Janata Dal 89 to 105 seats, while predicting the BJP will win 29 to 43 seats. The Congress is expected to reduce its tally from 16 seats to eight to 12 seats.
Local daily Sambad and its news channel Kanak TV had also conducted a poll for Odisha. The exit poll predicted that the Biju Janata Dal will win 85-95 seats, while the BJP will finish second with 29-34 seats.
A poll done by Odisha TV showed that the Biju Janata Dal may secure 74 to 98 seats, and BJP is likely to win 49 to 63 seats. The Congress will finish a poor third with 10-12 seats in this scenario.
Both Patnaik’s party and the BJP had rejected the findings of various opinion polls. BJP state unit president Basant Panda and Union Minister Jual Oram have both claimed that the saffron party will win over 70 seats, India Today reported. They attribute this to a “Modi wave” sweeping the country.
On the other hand, Biju Janata Dal spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP PK Deb said: “We are certain that BJD will secure two-third majority in the Assembly and repeat its last time performance in the Lok Sabha.”