ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Questioning the BJP Swing

Odisha Panchayat Elections

The success of the Bharatiya Janata Party in the 2017 panchayat elections in Odisha has led to predictions that the BJP will emerge as the largest party in the state in the 2019 elections. A closer analysis, however, suggests that the strength of the Biju Janata Dal cannot be underestimated. It may be premature to speculate on a Modi wave in Odisha.

This article analyses the results of the February 2017 elections to panchayati raj institutions (PRIs) in Odisha, with a specific focus on zilla parishad (district council) zones, which are fought on party lines. The results of the zilla parishad elections in Odisha have attracted national attention because of the enormous success of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and the sharp decline of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) at the panchayat level. This article examines whether Odisha is indeed going to witness a change in voting pattern in the next general election.

This panchayat election has indeed demolished a number of “misconceptions” about Odisha politics—for example, that Odisha Chief Minister and BJD President Naveen Patnaik cannot be challenged, or that the BJP has no base in Odisha and hence its electoral successes in the state will be limited. Drawing these conclusions from panchayat results would, however, be to underestimate the strength of the BJD and overestimate the BJP as a political force in Odisha.1

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Updated On : 7th Jun, 2017
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