Odisha’s ruling Biju Janata Dal on Thursday appeared to be on course to form the government for a fifth term in a row, with its candidates winning 17 seats and leading in 95 others out of the 146 assembly segments. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, is leading from both Bijapur and his home turf Hinjili. While the BJD has won all the 17 assembly seat results of which have so far been declared, the BJP was leading in 22 segments and the Congress, the CPI(M) and an independent candidate were leading in one seat each.
Polling was held in 146 assembly seats, as election in Patkura was postponed twice, following the death of a candidate and then due to cyclone Fani. While the government’s chief whip and former minister Amar Prasad Satpathy won from the Barchana assembly seat, defeating BJP’s Amar Kumar Nayak by a slender margin of 1,485 votes, BJD candidate Mukesh Kumar Pal won from Pallahara, beating BJP nominee Ashok Mohanty by a margin of 6,214 votes.
Prominent among the BJD winners are state ministers Nrusingha Sahu, who retained his Parjanga seat by defeating BJP’s BB Pradhan by a wafer-thin margin of 740 votes, and Prafulla Mallick, who won from his home turf Kamakhyanagar beating BJP’s Shatrughan Jena by 16,509 votes. Another Odisha minister Usha Devi retained her Chikiti assembly seat by defeating BJP’s Manoranjan Dyansamantara by 20,635 votes, while BJD’s B K Arukha, also a minister, won Bhanjanagar seat beating BJP nominee P K Nayak by 9,103 votes. Other BJD assembly poll winners are Minakshi Mahanta (Champua), Manjulata Swain (Aska), Pranab Balabantaray (Dharmasala), Kishore Chandra Naik (Kuchinda), Pramila Mallick (Binjharpur) and Pritiranjan Ghadai (Sukinda).
The BJP opened its account in the Odisha assembly polls, with Sankar Oram defeating BJD’s Makhlu Ekka by 16,351 votes in the Biramitrapur seat. It is poised to emerge as the main opposition party, with its nominees leading in 22 seats. The Congress, which was the main opposition to the BJD since the 2000 elections, is leading in eight places. It has 16 MLAs in the outgoing assembly.
Ramesh Chandra Jena of the Congress won from Sanakhemundi, defeating BJD’s Nandini Devi by 23,727 votes. The CPI(M) and an Independent candidate are leading in one constituency each. State Congress chief Niranjan Patnaik is trailing BJD candidates in both Ghasipura and Bhandaripokhari assembly segments. BJP legislature party leader K V Singhdeo is also trailing BJD’s Saroj Kumar Meher in the Patnagarh assembly seat. Singhdeo is the sitting MLA from Patnagarh.