Biju Janata Dal (BJD) President and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's historic move to reserve 33 per cent seats for women in the Lok Sabha has brought rich dividends for the party.
Out of the 21 Lok Sabha seats, the BJD had fielded seven women candidates and five of them have emerged victorious in the polls.
Pramila Bisoi, the 70-year-old village leader of a Self Help Group (SHG), has been elected from Aska Lok Sabha seat by defeating Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Anita Subahdarshini by a staggering margin of 2,04,707 votes.
The SHGs have been playing a crucial role in Patnaik's success. In return, the Chief Minister has launched several schemes for them under the Mission Shakti programme. Prior to the elections, he had also announced interest-free loans for them.
Chandrani Murmu from Keonjhar, Rajashree Mallick from Jagatsinghpur, Sarmistha Sethy from Jajpur and Manjulata Mandal from Bhadrak have been elected to the lower house of the Parliament.
However, BJD's Sundargarh MP candidate Sunita Biswal, daughter of former Congress Chief Minister Hemananda Biswal, lost to Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram. Sunita was in the third position.
BJD candidate Koushalya Hikaka put up a tough fight against Congress' Saptagiri Ulka in Koraput. She lost it by a margin of mere 3,613 votes.
The emotional bonding of women, who account for over 48 per cent of votes, has been intact with Patnaik even after 19 years of governance in the state.
That's why the Chief Minister, after a thumping victory in Assembly polls and getting maximum seats in Lok Sabha, thanked the women of the state for turning out in large numbers and voting in favour of the BJD.
BJD has secured 12 Lok Sabha seats while BJP won eight and Congress managed to get one. Out of 146 Assembly seats, BJD got 112 seats while BJP bagged 23 and Congress secured nine seats. Communist Party of India-Marxist got one and an Independent candidate won one.
( 340 Words)