With the dates for the all-important Lok Sabha polls now announced, the various political parties and the citizens of India have complete clarity on exactly when the country will once again undertake the largest exercise in democracy anywhere in the world.
To present a snapshot projection of where the various parties stand at the moment in different states, Republic TV and CVoter have published the National Approval Ratings which present a complete picture of what would happen if elections are held today.
In Odisha, the Biju Janata Dal looks set for a remarkable reversal as compared to what happened in the 2014 elections when the Naveen Patnaik-led party won 20 of 21 seats, emerging as a big regional player on the national stage. This time around, however, the National Approval Ratings project that the NDA will win the most seats in the state - 12 - whereas the BJD will manage to win only 9. More so, in terms of vote-share, the NDA is projected to win 34.5% of the votes while the BJD is projected to win 30%. The Congress is projected to be the biggest loser in the state, with zero seats despite a 25.6% vote-share.
Worryingly for the BJD, the National Approval Ratings in the case of Odisha have essentially remained constant for the last two months. Even in the January edition, the NDA was projected to win 12 seats while the BJD was at 9. The NDA has, however, managed to increase its vote-share projection from 33.2% appearing to take most of its new votes from the UPA, which was projected at 26.2% in January.
The months preceding the latest National Approval Ratings have witnessed a number of massive developments that may have a big impact on the on-ground sentiment as the phase-wise voting approaches. A parallel CVoter survey has already indicated that citizens' satisfaction with the performance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been on an upswing since the Feb 1 budget where a number of significant announcements were made - especially for farmers and for middle-class taxpayers. This satisfaction index the skyrocketed following India's air-strike against Pakistani terror bases across the LoC. Simultaneously, the satisfaction index of Congress president Rahul Gandhi has spiralled downward in the same time-frame. Specific to Odisha, one big development has been former BJD leader Jay Panda joining the BJP as a party Vice President and Spokesperson.