The Odisha Assembly Election 2024 witnessed both the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) engaged in a fervent political campaign marked by intense rhetoric with campaigning by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The assembly elections in Odisha were held in four phases, spanning from May 13 to June 1, coinciding with the Lok Sabha elections in the state.

An exit poll conducted by India Today-Axis My India indicates a significant political shift in Odisha, with the BJP likely to make substantial gains in the 147-seat Assembly. According to the exit poll, the BJP is projected to secure between 62 to 80 seats, challenging the dominance of the BJD led by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, which is also predicted to garner 62 to 80 seats.

This potential outcome, if true, could mark a historic shift, as it might be the first time since 2004 that the BJD fails to secure an absolute majority in the state assembly, posing a significant challenge to the five-time chief minister, Naveen Patnaik. In a scenario where neither party secures a clear majority, Odisha could face the prospect of a hung Assembly.

The India Today-Axis My India exit poll, based on a sample size of 5.8 lakh interviews conducted across all 543 parliamentary constituencies, indicates a notable surge in the BJP’s vote share to 42%, paralleled by a decline in the BJD’s vote share to the same figure. The Indian National Congress is expected to secure 12% of the total votes polled, translating to a projected tally of five to eight seats.

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BJP To Projected To Win 20 Out Of 21 Lok Sabha seats in Odisha

In the Lok Sabha elections held concurrently with the assembly polls, the BJP is again anticipated to gain significant ground, with the exit poll suggesting a projection of 18-20 seats for the BJP, while the BJD may secure 0-2 seats, according to the same exit poll. The total number of seats in the state is 21.

The BJP directed its campaign towards questioning Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s health, critiquing the non-Odia background of his aide VK Pandian, and invoking issues of Odia pride. In contrast, the BJD campaigned on the achievements and welfare schemes of the Naveen Patnaik government.

It is important to note that exit polls, while indicative, are not always accurate in predicting final election outcomes. In 2019, exit polls predicted 12-15 Lok Sabha seats for the BJP and 6-8 for BJD, whereas the saffron party won eight seats and the ruling party went on to win 12. In 2014, exit polls had predicted 13 seats for the BJD and five for the BJP. The saffron party bagged only one while the ruling BJD won 30 seats.

The counting of votes will be on June 4.

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