The 2019 Lok Sabha Elections in Odisha witnessed the Naveen Patnaik-led Biju Janata Dal (BJD) winning in 11 out of the 21 seats while leading in one. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) improved on it’s 2014 Lok Sabha Assembly by winning in eight seats. However, the Odisha Lok Sabha elections witnessed an epic tussle in Puri constituency between the BJD’s Pinaki Mishra and the BJP’s Dr Sambit Patra. In the 2009 and 2014, Mishra had won Puri without much of a fight but in 2019, Patra gave him a big tussle. Mid-way through the counting, Patra had established a small lead of close to 104 votes. Throughout the afternoon, the lead fluctuated with Mishra holding a slight upper hand. As evening approached, Mishra had established a lead of close to 1500 votes.
However, with the voting going into the second day, Mishra had extended his advantage and in the end, Mishra won by a margin of over 11000 votes to win the Puri Lok Sabha seat. The margin of victory was less than 12,000 votes, with Mishra receiving 538,321 votes against Patra’s 526,607. Puri has been kind to the BJD, having helped the side win since the late 90s. Mishra had won in Puri in 1996 on a Congress ticket.
There was plenty of focus during the Lok Sabha Elections in Puri. The area suffered massive devastation during Cyclone Phani. The storm eventually claimed 64 lives in the state but the world hailed the efforts of the Naveen Patnaik government in ensuring that casualties were reduced. The Puri seat saw a voter turnout of 74.01 per cent in the 2014 parliamentary polls while in 2009, the constituency registered 68.85 per cent turnout during polling.
Naveen Patnaik withstood the anti-incumbency wave in the state and emerged stronger than ever. Patnaik has been at the helm of Odisha since 2000 and he is now on the cusp of a record fifth-term as chief minister. The BJD managed to win 105 out of the 147 Assembly seats in Odisha but the BJP has also made inroads into the state. Narendra Modi’s BJP has also improved on their tally in the Lok Sabha, winning eight and improving by seven seats from their 2014 Lok Sabha tally.