Baijayant Jay Panda, who had been ejected from the BJD for his challenge to Naveen Patnaik’s leadership, was a leading political figure who was shouting from rooftops that Odisha was in for a “change” of regime in this election.
Panda, whose family-owned OTV channel, went full blast against the BJD and in favour of the BJP, joined the saffron party and became its national vice-president and also its candidate for the Kendrapada Lok Sabha seat.
He had expected that he would register an easy win riding the Modi wave in the wake of the Pulwama-Balakot episode.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose Kendrapada as his campaigning venue on the last day of his Odisha visit. And here, Modi had predicted the end of the BJD rule in the State making a statement in a raised voice, “Naveenbabu, aap ja rahe ho” meaning “You are going out of power”. And Baijayant Panda, who was present, had a hearty laugh cherishing that his earlier call for a change in power was almost achieved.
Panda’s followers gloated when the BJD anounced its Rajya Sabha member and cine star Anubhav Mohanty as the contestant against Panda since they thought Mohanty was a mere “film entertainer” and no match for an “intellectual Jay Panda.” But the Naveen magic cut Panda to his size when Mohanty had an almost unassailable lead of votes indicating his defeat