After his father Biju Patnaik’s death in 1997, Naveen Patnaik formed a regional party named Biju Janata Dal. The party is one of the offshoots of erstwhile Janata Dal and has presence in Orissa. Orissa sends 21 MPs to Lok Sabha. Currently BJD has 14 members in the Lok Sabha.
The party has been an ally of BJP since then, alliance having been broken in 2009 before state assembly polls. Party broke alliance after severe criticism of BJP’s alleged involvement in Kandhamal anti Christian riot during 2007. Naveen came back to power with a resounding victory in 2009 despite going alone.
The party is a family fiefdom, difficult to recall name of any other prominent party member. Naveen babu has a clean image which has helped him win state elections two times in a row. Naveen Patnaik has been the CM of Odisha / Orissa since 2000.
Many industrial projects in the state have been stuck (Posco, Vedanta, Arcelor etc.) and the state languishes in economic development. Of late, the party has aligned with the Left Front and has categorically denied supporting Modi as PM.
Historical Performance in Orissa (Lok Sabha)
|% of Orissa Seats||42.9%||47.6%||52.4%||66.7%|
Party has improved its performance year on year since its formation garnering >50% of total seats.
Possibilities in Next Lok Sabha Elections
Party is expected to win 12-18 seats as per surveys. Politicalbaaba estimates it would get 15. Lack of tall opposition leaders has helped Naveen and BJD. With Modi attacking Naveen babu in a rally recently in Bhubaneshwar, chances of BJD bailing out BJP if its falls short of majority is almost nil.
If a Third Front govt. is being formed at the center, his party would get key portfolios as it would be among the biggest parties in the front.
There is a outside chance of Naveen becoming PM. Third Front cant form govt. without Maya, Andhra parties support and they may not agree to Jaya as PM. In that case he may emerge as the consensus candidate. He could be the dark horse.