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In a clear departure from voting preferences in previous elections, Odisha has witnessed a split voting this time while selecting their representatives for Lok Sabha and the state Assembly.
The split mandate helped the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Lok Sabha while the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) performed impressively in Assembly as people decided "Modi at Centre, Naveen in Odisha".
The saffron party, which had bagged a single seat in 2014, improved its performance this time by winning eight seats. On the other hand, the BJD ceded eight seats from 20 it had won in 2014. The ruling BJD bagged 112 out of 146 Assembly constituencies.
The pattern of split voting was clearly visible in Bhubaneswar and Bargarh Lok Sabha constituencies. While not a single MLA candidate of BJP won from the Assembly constituencies coming under the two Lok Sabha seats, both the parliamentary constituencies voted in favour of the saffron party.
All BJD candidates are elected in the Assembly seats of Bargarh Lok Sabha constituency. Notably, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was contesting from Bijepur Assembly seat, which comes under Bargarh Lok Sabha seat. However, the presence of the Chief Minister appeared to have any impact on the voters while selecting their candidates for Lok Sabha.
BJP candidate Suresh Pujari trounced BJD Rajya Sabha member Prasanna Acharya by a margin of 63,939 votes.
The prestigious Bhubaneswar Lok Sabha seat, a stronghold of the ruling BJD, voted in favour of BJP. It has been the citadel of the regional party since 1998.
But this time, BJP candidate and former IAS officer Aparajita Sarangi defeated BJD candidate and former Mumbai Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik by a margin of 23,839 votes.
Surprisingly, the seven Assembly constituencies coming under the Lok Sabha seat elected BJD candidates and one Congress candidate from Jatani this time.
BJP vote share in Odisha has also increased in the Lok Sabha elections. The saffron party has polled 38.4 per cent of the total votes as against 21.9 per cent in the previous 2014 election.