Projections for 21 Lok Sabha seats of Odisha #Elections2014


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The historic general elections 2014 are coming to an end and everyone is now waiting for the results on the May 16th. In Odisha, the elections for the 21 Lok Sabha seats and 147 assembly seats happened simultaneously. The two phase elections in the state ended on April 17th with almost a month to go for the result day. This election is important for Odisha as the incumbent Chief Minister Naveen Pattnaik is seeking mandate for a record fourth term in the office. There are intense speculations going on among many whether BJD can repeat its magic in the elections and how will national parties like BJP and Congress will fare.

Being a political enthusiast from Odisha, I conducted a constituency wise research and tried to understand the political current in each of the 21 LS constituency. Based on that research, I have tried to predict the outcome the results in these seats. At this point I should make it clear that these are not based on any sample surveys and no statistical tool has been used. The research is based on my understanding of Odisha politics. I have already posted this on twitter & facebook on April 17th, 6 pm itself. Sharing the seat projections again on this blog to properly document the projection with detailed explanation.

Before I get to the constituency wise prediction, here are my five major observations about the Odisha elections 2014.

1. Historically, people of Odisha do not vote on the basis of caste or religion. But personality and charisma of a leader influences voting pattern very much. That explains why the people of Odisha are smitten by the Naveen Pattnaik phenomenon for last 14 years.

2. People want Odisha to have a larger voice at the national stage. Many people (especially in urban areas) are of of the view that by not aligning with any major political formation at the center, BJD has failed to bring big opportunities for Odisha in last 5 years. There’s a definite drop in the BJD’s popularity ratings when compared to 2009 when it got its best ever results.

3. Even after the BJD rule of 3 terms, there is no love lost between the 3.5 cr population of Odisha and Naveen Pattnaik. Despite the early hopes in the Congress camps of being able to corner BJD this time, factional feud ensured that state congress unit’s constant decline continues. The state of Congress in Odisha can be gauged from the very fact that the Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh joined BJD just before the elections. Delhi High Command’s mishandling of the state unit by tusting inefficient and unpopular leaders like Jayadev Jena and ignoring senior congress leaders’ opinion led to around 20 plus major leaders’ departure from the party just before the election.

4. Majority of Odias want Narendra Modi as the PM of India. However, due to the weak structure of BJP in the state, many voted for BJD owing to the TINA factor. There are also many constituencies (mostly western Odisha and some of the urban pockets in the coastal Odisha) voted for the BJP in the Lok Sabha thanks to the Modi wave, but chose BJD in their respective assembly seats.

5. The ‘Modi for Center, Naveen for state’ trend was heavily observed in case of the youth. Voters in the age group 18-30 are the most vocal supporters of Modi in Odisha. Many young voters voted for BJP without even knowing the name of the BJP candidate in their constituency. BJP has also recovered some of its party structure in its traditional base of western Odisha which it had lost to BJD during its alliance government. One can expect at least 5-10% vote swing in favor of the BJP this time.

Now let’s move towards the projections now.

Odisha Phase-1Odisha Phase-2

Final Projection for all 21 seats

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*Update (14th May):Figures of the leading Exit Polls for Odisha is as follows.

Exit Polls LS Seats Predictions for Odisha
BJD BJP INC
CNN IBN-CSDS 12-16 3-7 1-3
Aaj Tak-CICERO 10-14 5-9 1-3
ABP-Nielsen 9 10 2
Times Now-ORG 14 2 5
New 24-Today’s Chanakya 12 8 1
India TV-C Voter 11 6 4
Satta Market (for BJP) 5

 

Detailed explanation for each constituency is provided below.

Constituency 2014 Prediction 2009 Remarks
Phase-I
Bargarh BJP Cong BJD is not in the race here for the LS. Many BJD loyalists (including workers) voted for BJP candidate to defeat Congress MP Sanjay Bhoi
Sundargarh BJP Cong Sundargarh is BJP’s secure seat. Jual Oram had lost this seat by a margin of 0.5% votes last time. Long time respected leader in this area
Sambalpur BJP Cong Modi’s rally here was a major boost in a constituency which was already leaning towards the BJP
Bolangir BJD BJD While BJP’s Sangeeta Singhdeo is expected to do better in urban areas, the prince of the Bolangir royal family Kalikesh Singhdeo is expected to retain the seat in a tight battle.
Kalahandi Cong Cong Kalahandi is witnessing a tough triangular fight. Congress’ Bhakta Charan Das is a veteran leader in this area with many loyal supporters. BJP’s surge riding the Modi wave will hurt BJD’s chances here
Nabarangpur Cong Cong Maoist affected Nabarangpur shocked everyone with 82% voter turnout. Historically, a Congress bastion, Congress’ Pradeep Majhi is expected to retain the seat as the BJP’s surge is again expected to curtail the BJD hopes here
Kandhamal BJP BJD While BJP is ahead in the G Udayagiri and Baliguda segments, BJD is strong in Phulbani and Boudh segments in this communally sensitive constituency. This is a very close battle which I believe should go in favor of the BJP
Aska BJD BJD Considered as BJD’s fort, Aska is secured for BJD
Berhampur Cong BJD Popular movie actor Siddhant Mohapatra shocked everyone last time by defeating veteran Congress leader Chandrasekhar Sahu. Traditionally a Congress seat (Congress has lost here only twice) will return to Sahu again as BJD’s Sidhant’s popularity has dropped due to his prolonged absence from the constituency.
Koraput BJD BJD Another Congress bastion which was breached for the first time ever by BJD in 2009. However, Koraput is expected to repose its trust in BJD once again
Phase-II
Keonjhar BJD BJD Famous for mining activities, Keonjhar, which was once a BJP seat has shifted its allegiance towards BJD lately.
Mayurbhanj BJD BJD Sudam Marandi (previously in JMM) joining BJD will further help BJD in Mayurbhanj. One of the few constituencies where BJD may increase its victory margin compared to last time
Balasore BJP Cong Odisha’s lone minister in the UPA-II, Srikant Jena had won Balasore last time gaining from a fierce fight between BJD and BJP. This time around, Srikant Jena has lost the trust of the local Congress cadre. He is unpopular among the common people as well. BJP’s Pratap Sarangi has an image of incorruptible and selfless social worker which is helping him. He has a connect with the grass-root which his opponent from the BJD lacks.
Bhadrak BJD BJD The main battle is between the BJD and the Congress. The 7 time MP Arjun Charan Sethi is expected to win the seat for straight 5th time.
Jajpur BJD BJD An interesting constituency to watch as two powerful factions of the BJD have locked horns here because of ticket distribution. A completely unknown and inexperienced candidate Rita Tarai has been fielded by the BJD as a result. However, the BJP and Congress are so weak here that BJD may get votes by default. BJP may replace Congress at the second place
Dhenkanal BJP BJD BJP has never won Dhenkanal which has traditionally shifted between Congress and BJD (Janata Dal in past). Though BJD has repeated its 3 time MP Tathagata Satpathy, BJP’s Rudra Pany has made huge gains if ground reports are to be believed. Many Congress workers have switched allegiance and working for Pany’s win here. Though a very close call to make, I feel Modi wave will help BJP making new ground here.
Cuttack BJD BJD 4 time MP from Cuttack, Bhartruhari Mahatab of BJD who won the last election by a margin of 2.36 lakhs votes is not expected to face any opposition from Congress or BJP
Kendrapara BJD BJD Kendrapara is considered as the fort of anti-congress politics in Odisha. Congress has never won Kendrapara since 1957. Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda, who is considered as the face of Odisha in Delhi, should win handsomely here.
Jagatsinghpur BJD CPI BJD has left this seat to its alliance partner CPI last time. BJD’s Dr. Kulamani Samal shouldn’t face any resistance to win this coastal district
Puri BJD BJD Ace Supreme Court lawyer Pinaki Mishra is fighting from this electoral fort of BJD. Congress’ new face Sanchita Mohanty is not even in the picture anywhere.
Bhubaneswar BJD BJD Baba Prasanna Patsani is immensely popular because of his saffron attire and humorous speeches. Thanks to his and his party BJD’s popularity, Patsani doesn’t campaign much but has been winning this seat easily. Patsani managed to get the BJD ticket after a lot of consultation among the BJD ranks to give a new face a chance. The rethink was due to Congress fielding a veteran cine artist Bijay Mohanty and BJP’s young (and unknown) Pruthwiraj Harichandan riding the Modi wave. In Bhubaneswar City, a big number of voters voted for BJP in the Lok Sabha even though they didn’t know anything about Harichandan. But with only 40% voting in the city, and BJD’s Patsani being popular among the rural voters, Patsani will retain Bhubaneswar.

POSCO Realities


It's time to face the realities of POSCO

6 years ago, exactly on this day of June 22nd, the Govt. of Odisha signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the steel manufacturing giant POSCO for a Rs 51000 crore investment for a steel plant in the district of Jagatsinghpur. This project is still the biggest FDI of India. After a rule under former chief minister Janaki Ballav Pattnaik (of Congress, now rehabilitated as Governor of Assam after retirement) during which the state saw negative growth and became a place most unsuitable for industrialization (even if most of the country’s mineral lies under the soil of Odisha), such projects brought rays of hope for the people of Odisha. The state’s economy was in shambles and projects by companies like POSCO, TATA, Arcellor-Mittal were expected to boost its economy. Unfortunately, not a single of these big projects has moved an inch since the day the MoUs were signed.

Being the biggest FDI of the country, the center was also genuinely interested in having this project. Irrespective of the views of the state congress leaders the PMO pushed for the project. Yet POSCO had to face resistance from the villagers who protest the acquisition of land in the area. It also faced charges of violating forest rights act and after many years, the forest clearance was finally given by minister Jairam Ramesh. While the environmental issues are already settled, the problem of land acquisition has come to the fore. The state govt. after getting the requisite forest clearance moved ahead with the acquisition of the 4004 acres of land required by the South Korean company for the plant. Protests by villagers of one village using women and children as human shields has hit the national and international headlines. Govt. is on the back foot and has decided to stop the acquisition process. After 6 years, it is already too late. People of Odisha who were once ecstatic about the POSCO steel plant are now disgusted the way it is being resisted. It is time for the unawares as well as the anti-POSCO protesters to confront the realities of the POSCO plant and related issues. Being from Odisha, I hope I can present the facts well.

POSCO REALITIES:

* The POSCO plant was allocated to the 4004 acres of land in Jagatsinghpur because these area had least private land. Of the 4004 acres, almost 3500 acres of land are govt. land. While the real owners of the lands have welcomed the plant and left their lands for the greater good of the state, the villagers encroaching the govt lands by farming betel on it are creating ruckus.

* The allegations of POSCO violating the forest rights act(passed in 2006, after the MoU signed) is baseless. It is alleged that the plant violates the clause 2(o) that declares that all those living on forest land for at least three generations (75 years), as well as forest dwelling scheduled tribes, have rights under the Act to use the land under occupation and/or cultivation. Around 3000 acres of the land marked for the plant are classified as the forest land(even though there is no forest on that land. How come betel is being farmed on that land if there exists a forest there?). But as per documents, the land was classified as forest land in the 1950s, so no chance of people living there for 75 years/3 generations.

* While the world wants to believe that the protests are voluntary ones by the villagers, the reality is different. One Abhay Sahoo, who doesn’t belong to the affected area came from nowhere and started leading this campaign. Why the villagers weren’t given a chance to decide their own fate? Why an outsider leader was needed to instigate the locals of that area?

* Political opportunism is the only adhesive that binds the political parties. This is true for the POSCO project. Have you ever seen Left, Congress and the BJP supporting same cause anywhere else? Well they are on the same page in case of POSCO agitation.

* Of all the villages that will get displaced by the project, every village except 2 support and welcome the investment. Only Dhinkia and Gobindpur are the two villages where the majority are not in favor of POSCO.

* The land activists may shout about their democratic rights. Then why they threw the pro-POSCO villagers out of their villages? Didn’t they have any right?

* The leaders who lead the dissented villagers never gave constructive suggestions to the govt. while discussions. They rejected a unique and the best rehabilitation policy laid by the govt without even giving the suggestions like what more they want. Why I call the rehabilitation and compensation package as the best in the country, you will know that when I mention some of its features in the next realities

*POSCO compensation package: Posco would pay the betel vine owners Rs 11.5 lakh per acre. The labourers working in the betel vines would get 20% of the compensation awarded to the owners.

*POSCO compensation package: POSCO would pay Rs 17 lakh per acre of agricultural land and Rs 2 lakh per acre used for prawn ponds.

* POSCO compensation package: The people who have encroached the govt. land would also get the compensation.

*POSCO compensation package: Labourers working in betel vines will get unemployment allowance of Rs 2,250 a month for a year, in case they don’t get work during the steel plant construction.

* POSCO compensation package: Each of the displaced undivided families would get 10 decimals land on which POSCO would build a three-bedroom house with a cowshed. Each displaced family would also be provided Rs 5,000 as transport cost.

* POSCO compensation package: Adult members of the families would be treated as a SEPARATE family and given 10 decimals of land each.

* POSCO compensation package: A member from each family would get a REGULAR job in the plant. if not, allowance of Rs 2300 per month as unemployment allowance.

* If this compensation package is anti-poor, then perhaps no package can ever satisfy the protesters. May be because the leaders of the protest have their on vested political interest to fuel the dissent against the govt.

* While everyone is keen to comparing the Gobindpur or Dhinkia with Nandigram and Singur, the reality is that the state has not used force yet. The govt. has done commendable job to secure peace in the area by keeping the police and the ruling party cadre in limit.

People should check realities first before jumping to conclusion. Odisha has lost so much in last 50 years even if it has so much natural resources with it. Dear Medha, Gurudas, Agnivesh, D Raja and all outsourced leaders, please don’t dismantle the industrialization process which has been peaceful so far. We are a slow progressing state; don’t make us a ZERO progressing state. And dear protesters at the protest site, please send your children to the schools instead of bringing them to form human rings to confront with the police. Do you also want them to rot in poverty like you?

Two Pieces of Information: Orissa-Odisha change and Earth Hour


This will be a short post and will be different from posts that usually get posted here on this blog. My intention is to generate some awareness on two recent, not so sensational, events through this post. As the title suggests, the two events are the ‘correction of the spelling of the name of the state Orissa to Odisha’ and the ‘Earth Hour’.

1. Orissa is now Odisha:

On the 24th March, the Rajya Sabha passed the Orissa (Alteration of Name) Bill, 2010 which will pave the way to correct the historic spelling mistake in the name of the State Odisha. In the last winter season, the Loksabha had passed the bill after the state legislative assembly had passed the bill and sent to the parliament for approval. Now the last step, President of India’s commendation, is awaited after which the spelling Orissa will finally be changed to ‘Odisha’. Not just the name of the state, but the spelling in the name of the language ‘Oriya’ will be changed to ‘Odia’. The spelling change is not just limited to English. The change will also take place in Hindi as ‘उड़िसा‘ is now ‘ओड़िशा‘. Similarly the spelling of the language in Hindi is now ‘ओड़िया’. It is good to see that the wikipedia pages for Odisha and Odia language are updated both in English and Hindi.

In last 2 days, while interacting with many (who are not from Odisha) and after reading some tweets, I realised that many club this change in the same category as ‘Bombay-Mumbai’ or ‘Madras-Chennai’ change and brand this as yet another populist measure by regional politicians for votes. But actually the case is quite different. There is a fundamental difference between Odisha and Mumbai’s (or Chennai, Kolkata’s) case. Odisha isn’t a name brought from the history and being imposed on the 3.5 crore people of the state to get the support of the cultural brigades. In the modern days, Odisha’s name was always Odisha this is how it is pronounced by the locals in the local language. There is neither a ‘R’ in the name of the state (as in previous spelling) nor a ‘U’ (as in the Hindi spelling). It was during the British rule the spelling got changed. Linguists believe that the change in the spelling was because no letter in English language is available for the sound ‘ड़’ (D is for the sound ड) and thus Britishers pronounced Odisha as Orissa and Odia as Oriya. But that never changed the name or spelling the native Odia language. Due to reasons unknown to me, the pronunciation and thus the spelling of ओड़िशा changed to उड़िसा in Hindi.

So it is not a case similar to Bombay being made Mumbai or Madras being Chennai to fulfill cultural brigade’s wish. If it were the case, then the names like ‘Kalinga’ (remember Kalinga war against Ashoka) would have been adopted as it speaks highly about the state. But what we tried to do is change the spelling mistake in the existing name so that the pronunciation of the name of the state and language be same in each language.

On the 1st April 2011, Odisha will enter the 75th year of statehood. This historical correction in spelling can be treated as a gift for all the residents of Odisha. There may not be any change in the state of affairs in the state after this spelling correction, as some would argue, but the state of affairs wasn’t changing with a wrong spelling too. So why not adopt the correct spelling? I wish the whoever reads this post becomes aware about the correct facts and suitably adopt these changes. I will also like to thank the state and central govt. as well as the politicians who took up this matter.

2. 26th March: Today is Earth Hour!

Are you aware that today is the Earth Hour? This year will be my second year of supporting Earth Hour and I’m very excited about it. I won’t post more on what Earth Hour is as I know most of you must be aware about the event. For those who still don’t know what earth hour is then check this post I had written last year and check this Wikipedia article.

There are several misconceptions about the event as many see this as exhibitionism. Some ask what’s the value of switching off lights in a country where power cuts are a daily affair. Some see this whole campaign as western idea of saving earth being imposed on the whole world. Actually, this a small idea that eventually has grown to this level as people across the countries irrespective of their economical status took part in this event voluntarily. Those who started the campaign only wanted the people to switch off their lights for one hour at least a day in the whole year, but many people made the idea big by switching off all the electrical appliances for one hour. In fact, seeing the idea growing, this time Earth Hour is going beyond just one hour. With more awareness program, more people are becoming part of the concept. Ideas to keep the world green and clean are being developed under this Earth Hour brand name. Every person wants to do his/her bit for the mother earth, Earth Hour just provides the platform for that. Channelizing the individual efforts is the objective of the Earth Hour concept.

From my experience, I can tell you that you will feel better after you switch off your lights (or better if all electrical appliances in house/office) for one hour. I remember, last year there was IPL around this time and the match on the Earth Hour day was that of KKR vs KXIP. Sourav Ganguly being my favorite cricketer and then being part of KKR team, it was a tough choice for me to choose. I decided to sacrifice viewing the game for one hour. During observing the earth hour, I started receiving SMSes that ‘Dada’ is playing well. Still I persisted with my decision. When I switched on the TV at 9.30 after the Earth Hour, I got to know that Sourav scored a half century in that match. I had to miss that innings yet I felt no remorse of missing that innings. In fact, I thought that perhaps Dada was helped by my decision, however small it was. I request you, if you are moved and want to do something for the mother earth, then join the Eart Hour campaign. Switch off the lights from 8.30 to 9.30 pm tonight. Also tell your friends to join you in this. Here are two magnificent official 2011 Earth Hour videos. I have also attached the FlickR photostream consisting of some brilliant pictures. Take a look and join the cause.

Earth Hour Global 2011\’s photostream

 

P.S. Well, the argument that Earth Hour is a joke in India considering the daily powercuts we face here is quite true. We, Indians can boast that we celebrate Earth Hour daily opposed to other countries where people do it once in a year. I stumbled upon this cartoon from this blog so decided to share it for the readers 😛

 

Happy Earth Hour 🙂