2019 Odisha elections: Can the Modi wave knock BJD out?

02 Jun 2017 | By Anupama Vijayakumar
Odisha: Can BJP knock out Biju Janata Dal?

For the past two decades, Odisha politics has been dominated by the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), with the Patnaiks at the helm.

However, BJP has plans to wrest the state from BJD's clutches, after Union Petroleum and Mines Minister Dharmendra Pradhan pitched a convincing case on BJP's chances of winning Odisha state assembly polls.

Can the BJP succeed in ousting BJD from its turf?

In context: Odisha: Can BJP knock out Biju Janata Dal?

02 Jun 20172019 Odisha elections: Can the Modi wave knock BJD out?

AboutBiju Janata Dal

The BJD was formed in 1997, after Odisha's current CM Naveen Patnaik broke away from the Janata Dal, following its failure to form coalition with the BJP both in Odisha and at the centre.

Adopting a policy of 'no permanent friends or enemies', BJD has allied with BJP within coalitions at state and centre levels, before it broke ties ahead of 2009 state elections.

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Is the BJD influence declining?

Recent trendsIs the BJD influence declining?

The BJD secured a splendid victory in the 2009 elections following its break-up with BJP, and went on to secure massive majorities in both the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and the state assembly polls.

However, BJD lost the recent Odisha Panchayat and Zilla Parishad elections, securing 300 votes over BJP which secured 500 out of 800 seats.

This meant the BJP's prospects shined brighter.

RoleYes we can: Dharmendra Pradhan to BJP

Political analysts observe that the BJP minister from Bihar has played an important role in asserting the party's influence in the state.

Projecting himself as a Chief Ministerial face, Pradhan is also said to have been instrumental in holding the BJP National Executive Council in Odisha, where he is said to have convinced the party's leadership of its prospects in Odisha.

AnalysisWhat could happen ahead of 2019 polls?

BJD's success in Odisha can be attributed to Naveen Patnaik's corruption-free, clean image. Breaking ties with BJP the last time around had further catapulted the party to the top. BJD still continues to hold ground in Odisha.

While it plans on fighting Odisha elections with Pradhan's face, it may still keep the option open for a BJP-BJD alliance, acknowledging BJD's influence in the state.