In 2019 polls, defying the strong wave in favour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP, Odisha voters preferred split voting.
BHUBANESWAR: As Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal looks for “Odisha pattern of voting” in the forthcoming Assembly polls, CM Naveen Patnaik whose first two innings were seen as periods of development and governance and third and fourth stints considered as phases of corruption and misrule, is beginning to sign his current fifth term as an era of development.
He has formed a new department — 5T department and appointed a special secretary – to oversee all the departments deliver public services. The 5Ts stand for Teamwork, Transparency, Technology, Transformation and Time.
In 2019 polls, defying the strong wave in favour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP, Odisha voters preferred split voting. They gave 8 Lok Sabha seats to the BJP, 7 more than the 2014 polls, while the saffron party, which aimed to get 120-plus seats in 147-member Assembly, was restricted to only 23 seats. The voting in favour of ruling BJD in Assembly, as Mr Patnaik said it, was due to the BJD’s welfare activities.
Mr Kejriwal, while dismissing the impact of general elections in which the BJP swept all the seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi, has repeatedly said that voters will choose him again like Mr Patnaik as he has done immensely for the Delhi people.
“In 2019 Lok Sabha and Odisha Assembly elections held simultaneously in the state, people went for split voting. In Assembly polls, they chose Patnaik Saheb (Naveen Patnaik) for his welfare activities, while large number of people voted for BJP in Lok Sabha elections. I hope Delhi people will chose Aam Aadmi Party for the tremendous work it has done,” Mr Kejriwal is often seen repeating this during media interviews.
In fact, the Delhi chief minister is heavily banking on uplifting the standards of Delhi government schools, hospitals and free healthcare for critical diseases, water supply to all, 200 units of free electricity, free travel for women in DTC buses and some other welfare measures to get votes. Besides, like the Odisha CM, Mr Kejriwal is also highlighting on his “crusade” against corruption as another example of good governance.
In 2019 Lok Sabha polls, BJP won all the seven seats in Delhi. It got 56.6 per cent votes, far more than the 46.4 per cent it managed in 2014. For the Congress, there was some redemption in defeat — the party finished second in five seats and its vote-share improved from 15.1 per cent in 2014 to 22.5 per cent. The AAP’s vote-share dropped to 18.1 per cent from 32.9 per cent in 2014. In some seats like Chandni Chowk, New Delhi and North-East Delhi, the party’s candidates lost their deposits — which happens if a candidate gets less than one-sixth of the valid votes polled.
In the in 2013 and 2015 Assembly elections, the AAP polled 29.49 per cent and 54.3 per cent votes, respectively, with the latter giving it an unprecedented majority of 67 seats out of 70.
In 2019 Assembly polls, the BJD’s vote share inched up to 44.7 per cent from 43.41 per cent in 2014, even as the party got seven Lok Sabha seats less than its 2014 tally of 20. As Mr Kejriwal emulates the Odisha chief minister, Mr Patnaik has started reinventing new strategies for further consolidation of vote banks ahead of the urban polls this year and 2024 Lok Sabha and Assembly polls.
Apart from continuing his pre-polls sops that included 5-rupee Aahar, free bicycles and uniforms to school students and doles to unemployed youths through Biju Yuba Vahini, Mr Patnaik has embarked upon road communication infrastructure development work and promotion of industrial and tourism activities to generate jobs.
What is more significant is that Mr Patnaik is keeping tabs on activities of all ministers and officer through the newly created 5-T department for better delivery of government schemes and programmes.