There are some southern and western Lok Sabha Constituencies in Odisha whose fate is decided by NOTA and small parties. Nabrangpur Lok Sabha Constituency is a southern ST-reserved Constituency. In 2019 Lok Sabha election, BJD candidate, Ramesh Chandra Majhi had won the poll by bagging 3, 92,504 (33.78%) votes. He defeated Congress candidate Pradeep Majhi and BJP candidate, Balabhadra Majhi. The Congress had bagged 3,50,870 (30.2%) votes and the BJP had bagged 3,42,839 (29.51%) votes. The winning margin was around 8,000 votes.
Interestingly, the NOTA -poling was 44,582 votes, the highest among the 21 Lok Sabha seats. The BSP got 28,905 votes. Thus NOTA and small players affected the poll outcome. It is believed that the NOTA and the BSP- voting was against the Congress in 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Today, Pradeep Majhi is in the BJD. One has to watch which party’s votes shall be cut by NOTA and BSP in 2024 poll.
Koraput Lok Sabha Constituency is another southern ST-reserved Constituency. In 2019 Lok Sabha election, Congress candidate, Saptagiri Ulaka had won the poll by bagging 3,71,129 (34.34%) votes, defeating BJD’s Kausalya Hikaka and BJP’s Jayaram Pangi. The BJD had bagged 3, 67, 516 (34.01%) votes and the BJP had won 2, 08, 398 (19.28%) votes. The winning margin was around 4,000 votes. But NOTA had polled 36,561(2.55%) votes, the second highest in the State in Lok Sabha poll. The BSP bagged 35,764 votes. NOTA and the BSP bagged a total of around 71,000 votes together. Other small parties like CPIMLL, API and CPM got 26,117, 18,849 and 15,827 votes respectively.
Therefore, the NOTA and the small players affected the poll outcome. These votes seem to be anti-Congress votes. The trend is likely to be repeated in 2024 LS poll and it might put the Congress at a disadvantage.
Other southern Lok Sabha Constituencies like Brahmapur, Aska and Kandhamal(ST) are not affected by NOTA and small parties.
Kalahandi Lok Sabha Constituency in a western general category Constituency. BJP’s Basanta Kumar Panda had won the poll in 2019 by securing 4, 33,074 (35.18%) votes, followed by Puspendra Singhdeo of the BJD with 4, 06,260 (33 %) votes and Bhakta Charan Das of the Congress with 3,19,202 (25.93%) votes. The winning margin was around 27,000. On the other hand, the combined votes of NOTA and small players was around 69,000 votes, consisting of NOTA(21,199), BMUP(15,864), API( 12,409), BSP( 10,488) and Independent ( 9,836) . Caste wise, these votes were mainly from the Yadav and the SC groups which weakened the Congress and the BJD. The 2024 poll is likely to see a repeat of these small players and it might help or alter the BJP’s current position.
In another western general category Lok Sabha Constituency of Balangir , BJP candidate, Sangeeta Kumari Singh Deo, had polled 4,98,086(38.12%) votes and won the seat in 2019, defeating the BJD candidate, Kalikesh Narayan Singh Deo, who had polled 4,78,570 (36.62%) votes and the Congress candidate Samarendra Mishra, who had polled 2,71,056 ( 20.74%) votes. The winning margin was around 19,000. But NOTA took away nearly 16,000 and the BSP bagged 12,229 votes. Other small parties like the API got 13,919. In total the small players took away around 45,000 votes. These votes belonged mainly to the SCs and the STs. This trend seems to be repeated in the next election. But the induction of the tribal leader, Niranjan Bishi in the BJD is likely to give Lok Sabha benefit to the BJD in 2024.
In western Bargarh Lok Sabha Constituency (general), BJP candidate Suresh Pujari had won by bagging 5, 81,245 (46.46%) votes and defeating the BJD candidate, Prasanna Acharya and Congress’s Pradeep Kumar Debata in 2019. The BJD had won 5, 17,306 (41.35%) votes and the Congress bagged 1, 09,417 (8.75%) votes. The NOTA polling was 14,167. The BSP, NOTA and other small players had no effect on the result. The trend is likely to be repeated in 2024 poll. If the BJD and the
Congress change their candidates in 2024, there may be a change in the result.
In Sambalpur Lok Sabha Constituency, the BJP candidate , Nitesh Ganga Deb, had won the Poll by bagging 473770 /42.05% votes in 2019 election, defeating the BJD candidate, Nalini Kanta Pradhan and the Congress candidate,Sarat Pattanayak. The BJD candidate had bagged 464608/41.24% votes and the Congress had bagged 135969/ 12.07% votes. The NOTA- poling was 13456. NOTA and others’ votes were around 50000 in total, thus impacting the poll- outcome, as the winning margin was around 9000 votes. The Constituency is therefore politically unstable.
In Sundergarh (ST) Lok Sabha Constituency, BJP candidate, Jual Oram, had won by bagging 5, 00,056 (45.42%) votes in 2019, defeating the BJD’s Sunita Biswal and Congress’s GeorgeTirkey. The BJD candidate had bagged 2, 76,991 (25.16% ) votes and the Congress bagged 2,68,218
(24.36%) votes. The NOTA polling was 13,675. The votes secured by NOTA and other players had no impact on the outcome, as the winning margin was too large. The change of the BJD candidate may influence the 2024 poll outcome.
Mayurbhanj (ST) Lok Sabha Constituency is in north Odisha. BJP candidate, Bisweswar Tudu, had won the 2019 poll by bagging 4,83,812 (42.01%) votes, defeating BJD’s Dr Debashis Marandi and JMM candidate Anjani Soren. The BJD candidate had bagged 4, 58,556 (39.82%) votes and the JMM bagged 1, 35, 552 (11.77%) votes. The poling for NOTA and
the BSP was 21,357 and 10,240 respectively. The NOTA and the small players affected the poll outcome as the margin was 35,000. The BJD and the BJP shall have stiff competition here in 2024 election.
One should question why the voters go for NOTA, the BSP and other small parties in spite of the presence of the major political parties in the Constituencies, which are mostly ST-reserved seats.