By Ritesh Mohanty
Bhubaneswar: Feb 15: The result of first phase of Panchayat Election ‘2017 has certainly upset the political equation of the state. Since the Party’s formation in 1997, BJD was simply shining till date. Even if after BJP got separated from BJD, BJD ruled in one and all election of the state, may be Panchayat Election, Urban Body Election, Assembly Election or even Parliamentary Election. But, this Panchayat Election simply forces the ruling camp to do a fresh brain storm to know the cause of gap created between the rank 1 and rank 2 (Performance wise BJP ranked next to BJD). Though, result for BJD is not devastating, but catching critics’ eye. Still, ruling party has got 100 of 188 seats that went to polls in the first phase. But, if we shall compare the result of first phase of Panchayat Election’2017 with the last Panchayat Election of 2012, it is much less. Result of first phase of Panchayat Election of 2012 was 154. Also, it is seen, BJD has performed very badly in areas of BJD stalwarts like Debi Prasad Mishra, Pushpendra Singhdeo, Jogendra Behera, Snehangini Chhuria and Sudram Marandi. BJD leaders while discussing the issue have been citing different skin saving reasons like infighting among party cadres, Naveen’s absence in campaign and poor election management. Whatever may be the reason, Naveen team were confident enough to harvest better numbers as during this tenure, they have launched number of populist schemes like Aahar (through which cooked meal is provided for rs.5), Niramaya(free medicines), Biju Pucca Ghar Yojana, Farm loan @1% and loan for self-help groups @1% and others. It is to be noted here, populist scheme like one kg rice @ Re 1, launched ahead of 2014 Election, fetched a good yield for BJD. So, the question here is, whether the administrative machinery failed to implement the populist schemes and the beneficiaries got irritated? Another question is, why the top leaders failed to check the infighting in rural politics? Are they not efficient enough to handle the matters? Or became over confident? The most important question is, Whether the voters are with Naveen only and not with BJD ? So, though the result is not so much devastating, but BJD think tank has to accept the voters’ verdict and rectify the mistakes ahead of 2019.
Similarly this Panchayat Election upsets the hopes of Congress, which performed badly as compared to the result of 2012 Panchayat Election. Here, the reason for coming down to third position as compared to 2nd position secured in last panchayat election is very much clear i.e. Heavy infighting and lack of leadership. If the trend of 1st phase of election continues, Congress had to see the worst ever performance. Months before the election, when Naveen Patnaik was moving to almost all the districts to improve his party’s performance and the BJP had been doing rounds of brain storming sessions to develop its strategy, State Congress leaders were busy in visiting Delhi to campaign against each other. So, how can the voters believe the Party as they are not able to concentrate on state issues?
But, State BJP look united this time and did a thorough homework, which gives them result as seen in first phase besides Modi factor, which has its own impact on individual voters.
But, yet to see result of four more phases of Panchayat Election, so let’s see which Party scores what!