At a massive rally of women in Kendrapara district, Odisha Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal chief Naveen Patnaik said, “From this historic soil in Kendrapara, I announce that from Odisha 33 pct women will go to Parliament. Odisha will show India the way in empowering women.”
Trap the Opposition
BJD’s decision to give as many as seven Lok Sabha tickets (out of 21) can likely not be matched by its principal challengers, Congress and BJP. “Both are national parties. If they match BJD’s move only in Odisha and not across the nation, they will look as cynical opportunists. Both will not be able to make that announcement even in Odisha,” said a BJD MP. Follow Lok Sabha Election 2019 Schedule announcement LIVE
Consolidate the female vote
The announcement, say BJD leaders, is a “culmination of a series of pro-women measures that began in its first term in power and before when Biju Patnaik was CM”. In 1990, In 1990, Biju Babu showed the way to the nation by giving women 33 per cent reservation (in local bodies), Naveen Patnaik told the rally. From Mission Shakti for women to Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana’s provisions for women, the BJD has nurtured a powerful female voter constituency.
Despite serving almost four terms (19 years) as CM, Naveen Patnaik continues to be a popular leader in Odisha. The BJD organizational prowess in the state is unmatched by Congress or BJP. However, the greatest risk to BJD, is the unpopularity of many sitting MPs and MLAs. Incumbents, who are dropped, will likely be placated by giving tickets to female family members in their place.