Bhubaneswar, May 16 :
Several pro-poor programmes implemented by his government and the absence of strong opposition appear to have helped Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik who is heading for a spectacular fourth straight win in Odisha.
The Biju Janata Dal, led by him, has already won eight of the state’s 147 assembly seats and was ahead on a whopping 107 others. The party is also leading in 19 Lok Sabha seats out of the 21 in the state, the latest trends showed.
Workers assembled at the BJD headquarters here, burst firecrackers, distributed sweets and danced and shook hands with each other to celebrate the achievement.
“Development programmes, welfare schemes, anti-poverty programme, works for tribal people who constitute a quarter of our population and the transparent and clean government given to Odisha have all contributed to the BJD doing so well,” Patnaik said.
The Re.1 per kg rice scheme, financial assistance to pregnant women, pension to destitute elderly men, women and widows, girl and tribal students are some schemes that helped him win the hearts of the people, his admirers said.
“I voted for BJD because my elderly parents get rice regularly at Re.1 per kg along with free electricity. An Indira Awas house has been provided to them in our village in Balasore district,” said Sukanti Barik, 35, who works as a maid in the house of an officer in Bhubaneswar.
Barik is one of the millions of women who have benefited from different schemes and are believed to have worked silently for Patnaik.
The state government has been providing Rs.5,000 to rural pregnant women in four phases for the first two live births. More than one million households availed of this scheme.
More than five million women are receiving funds for self-help groups run for economic activities under the Mission Shakti scheme.
It is the women voters and beneficiaries of different schemes who were instrumental in taking electors to the booths, resulting in bulk votes for the party.
There are many other schemes which helped Patnaik to win over the people, another admirer said.
The government was embroiled in several controversies, especially over the mining scam, chit fund scam and law and order situation but the divided opposition failed to cash in on these.
The Congress, the main opposition party, was busy trying to keep its own flock together while there was almost no political activity by the Bharatiya Janata Party over the past few years.
Although it woke up after the announcement of polls, it was too late.
“The victory was because of the good image of Naveen Patnaik. All sections of people, including the poor and the downtrodden, realised he has been sincerely working for them,” BJD vice president Surya Narayan Patro told IANS.