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BJD's wrong calculations led to humiliating defeat of internationally renowned sculptor Raghunath Mohapatra in Rajya Sabha elections
The biannual election for Rajya Sabha seats were held in Odisha on 7th February 2014. Senior BJD party member Ananaga Udaya Singh Deo, BJD Ministers Kalpataru Das and Sorojini Hembram won the election along with Congress leader cum IPL commissioner Ranjib Biswal.

As per the strength in Odisha Assembly BJD easily could get 3 seats, thus it naturally got elected its three members. But what shocked public is winning of Ranjib Biswal from the Congress unexpectedly and out of blue, where as Odisha's pride, an international famed sculptor and Padma Vibhushan awardee Raghunath Mohapatra faced a humiliating defeat despite BJD and BJP supported him and numbers were in his favour.

Thus the question arises who humiliated this great sculptor. To understand the situation let's describe the chronological events briefly.

In Odisha assembly the strength of various parties are like this, BJD-107, Congress-27, BJP-6, CPI-1 and independents-6. CPI is BJD's coalition partner hence its strength comes to 108. BJP has also an associate member hence its strength becomes 7.

To win the Rajya Sabha seat, a candidate needs 30 numbers first choice vote. Thus BJD can send 3 candidates to the upper house. Thus after consuming 90 votes it still has 18 votes extra. Thus Navin Patnaik brought the famous Odia sculptor Raghunath Mohapatra as a BJD backed independent candidate. The mathematics was simple that BJD’s 18, independents 5 seat plus BJP’s 7 seat would see Mohapatra through!

The Congress in the mean time declared Ranjib Biswal as its official candidate. It had 27 members and it speculated that it would snatch at least 3 voters from independent candidates though 3 of them (out of five) are already declared as associate to BJD party. Thus even if the Congress get’s remaining 2 independent votes, still Mohapatra got a chance to win in second choice vote counting.

On 6th February 2014, Navin Patnaik clinched support of two remaining independent candidates who too were declared as associate to BJD. Thus Mohapatra’s wining chances were very clear even if BJP abstains. BJP was also in dilemma. Central Parliamentary board instructed to ensure that the Congress candidate shouldn’t win, where as state cadre opposed to support BJD supported candidate.

However by the noon of 7th February, on the voting day, BJP decided to vote for Mohapatra and 5 of them voted. One BJP member suspended by BJP too voted but in all probability to the Congress. Another BJP MLA Manoj Pradhan remained missing and didn’t vote. The Congress started complaining against BJD supremo that he indulged in horse trading! Thus it was clear that Mohapatra is wining the fourth seat.

But when the result came, it was surprising. Ranjib Biswal got 29 first choice votes where as Mohapatra got only 20 first choice votes! That means he got only 11 votes from BJD, 5 from BJP and 3 from independents. One vote of senior BJD leader Kalandi Behera became void! Congress too was surprised on this win because even if it got 29 1st choice votes, Mohapatra still could have won had he got at least 22 1st choice votes.

Clearly it’s BJD’s wrong management that led to Mohapatra’s loss. BJD wasted 6 votes in his three official candidates as  A.U. Singh Deo, Kalapataru Das and Sarojini Hembram got 33, 32 and 31 1st choice votes respectively instead of 30 each.

The problem was Navin Patnaik played politics in bringing Mohapatra. His trick was either to makes his 4th candidate to win or let there be BJP-Congress alliance in making Congress candidate win!

He was at a win-win situation because on Mohapatra's victory would have given him all the credit and on loss BJP would be blamed severely for not supporting a great Odia artist and the Congress would be blamed for indulging in horse trading against Odisha’s pride. But he perhaps didn’t do his calculations right and despite BJP's support it did a blunder in voting tactically.

In this process Odisha’s pride is humiliated. Isn’t Navin Patnaik own an apology in blundering reputation of a great Odia? He has no right to bring such famous Odias in to his dirty political games!

There are no takers of the weak reply by a BJD minister Damodar Rout that BJP might had played a game while voting for BJD's top three candidates. Because six votes are in excess in the top three accounts and BJP’s votes were only 5. Thus the sixth vote and the vote wasted by BJD member too could have made Mohapatra to won, had it gone in his favour! Also, after a decision why BJP will vote BJD members?

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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