Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s decision to contest from the Bijepur assembly constituency is in line with a recommendation of state’s intelligence report that found that the incumbent CM will not be able to win from Hinjili. Patnaik has represented the Hinjili assembly seat from south Odisha and has won all elections since 2000.
Odisha is India’s eastern coastal state. Along with the General Elections the people of Odisha will also vote to elect candidates for its 147-member legislative assembly. There will be simultaneous polls in Odisha in four phases on April 11, 18, 23 and 29 for the 21 Lok Sabha seats and for the 147 assembly constituencies.
Naveen Patnaik has been Odisha’s Chief Minister since 2000 and faces a huge anti-incumbency wave in these elections.
Since 2000, Patnaik has represented the Hinjili constituency but the report of State Intelligence Branch (SIB), which flags about the lack of infrastructure and amenities as cause of dissatisfaction among people, gives an indication about the current mood of the electorate in Odisha.
“…but the lack of amenities and infrastructure is causing significant dissatisfaction among the local people…. post-cyclone relief work has reached only those who are close to the local unit of the Biju Janata Dal Party causing resentment in the rest of the constituency. Keeping in mind the above, it is recommended that Hon. CM Naveen Patnaik should not contest the upcoming (Odisha) Assembly elections from Hinjili constituency,” said the state intelligence report which has been signed by Odisha’s Special Director General Police (Intelligence).
This report has further recommended four different constituencies as “alternative options” for Naveen Patnaik “as requested”. The recommended constituencies are: Rourkela, Bijepur, Bolangir and Titlagarh.
Interestingly, Patnaik has promptly announced to contest from the Bijepur assembly seat (one of the constituencies recommended by state intelligence report). However, he will contest from the Hinjili constituency as well.
Political observers say that the incumbent CM’s decision to simultaneously contest from two seats is an indicator that there is a strong wave against the present Naveen Patnaik government.