Bhubaneswar: The decision of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to rope in high profile candidates from the BJD and import some Delhi-based leaders seem to have yielded no result.
The party move to field its national spokesperson Sambit Patra against incumbent Puri Member of Parliament Pinaki Mishra has proved disastrous as BJD is able to successfully retain the temple town.
While Sambit was seen roaming around the corridors of Puri Lok Sabha (LS) constituency, meeting the voters and paying tributes to the temples of the area, he failed to strike a chord with the voters at large, giving an edge to the three-time Puri MP Pinaki Mishra.
Pinaki Mishra defeated Sambit Patra by a margin of 11,714 votes. What Pinaki’s victory means is that BJP’s attempt to foist an ‘outsider’ on Puri has not succeeded. Another ploy that worked against the BJP was roping in and giving party tickets to BJD’s former senior leaders.
On Twitter, Patra said, “Friends I lost the election by about 11,000 votes in Puri; but I take this opportunity to thank my master Lord Jagannath who gave me an opportunity to contest elections from His holy abode. I thank the karyakartas of BJP Puri and above all the people of Puri for their immense love,”
Former CRPF DG Prakash Mishra, BJP candidate for Cuttack LS seat, also faced a drubbing and was defeated by BJD heavyweight Bhartruhari Mahtab.
The defeat of former BJD leader and ex-Kendrapara MP Baijayant Panda in the hands of Anubhav Mohanty also gave a shock to the saffron brigade. BJP’s star candidate lost by a margin of 152,584 votes despite his earlier claims mass support.
Panda, however, refrained from blaming EVMs but he hinted that his defeat was for some other reason. On Twitter, he said, “Let us not become like those conspiracy theorists who try to discredit our impressive, credible electoral system for their own vested interest. I have researched and written on EVMs, they’re fine. I can’t speak for Puri, but Kendrapada result is for other reasons, not EVMs.”
BJP’s game plan to make use of deserted BJD and Congress leaders like Balabhadra Majhi, Damodar Rout and Raghunath Mohanty for political gains has also failed. Otherwise, the saffron party has seen a surge in its vote share in the state and parliament elections.