At the same time Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in Odisha were held in two phases April 16 and 23, 2009. As Soon as the Chief Election Commission of India Sri N Gopal Swamy declared the schedules of elections on 2 March, 2009, the political scenery of Odisha took a sudden turn. Ending days of speculation, the Biju Janta Dal on 7 March 2009 severed its ties with the Bharatiya Janata Party. Overnight L.K. Advani of BJD had become persona non grata for Naveen Patnaik, and the likes of Prakash Karat and Sharad Pawar had gained currency. Political pundits had predicated that the divorce will help the Congress. But N aveen Patnaik had other ideas in his mind. The actual fact was that the BJP had been n eg lectin g its own o rg an izatio n . Its lost base had presumably shifted to the BJD, which had made inroads into the bastions of its partner, including poaching some of its leaders. Naveen Patnaik's game plan was to gain the magic numbers by not only consolidating the vote that shifts from the BJP, but also adding to it by roping in smaller players like the Left, NCP and others. Having shed its n o n -se cu la r c re d e n tia ls, in e v ita b le a fte r
Kandhamal, the BJD though the move will appease the m inorities too. Naveen Patnaik rode an electoral tsunami to wash away the Congress and the BJP by scoring a resounding hat trick in the Assembly elections and coming up with a fantastic perform ance in the Lok Sabha polls. The BJD won 103 Assembly and 14 Lok Sabha seats. In the 2000 and 2004 elections Mr Patnaik had two factors favouring him being Biju Patnaik's son and a pro-NDA-Vajpayee wind- But in 2009 it was Naveen Patniak on his own. The victory enabled BJD supreme Naveen Patnaik to be the chief minister for the third consecutive term, a record in Odisha, but, also proved that the regional party established two-third majority even with out the help of its pre-p oll allies. Lack of lead ership and factionalism within the party are the principal reasons for the hum iliating defeat of the BJP. There was no cohesiveness among the senior leaders and those who became ministers in the Naveen Patnaik-led coalition governm ent served their own interests. Factionalism w ithin the party becam e more prom inent during its second term in the government. The infighting among the top leaders had its negative effect on the party organization. After coming to power in alliance with the BJD, the BJP leaders started distancing the party cadre.