Politics of Odisha

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Politics in Odisha takes place within a framework of a federal parliamentary representative democratic republic, where the Union Government of India exercises sovereign rights with certain powers reserved to the states of India including Odisha. The state has a multi-party system where the two main parties are the centrist and secularist Indian National Congress (INC) and the regional socialist party Biju Janata Dal (BJD).The nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has increased in recent years.[when?] The Governor of Odisha is appointed by the Union Government and can, in some circumstances, dismiss the state government.

Current situation[edit]

The party with the largest number of seats in the Odisha Legislative Assembly is the Biju Janata Dal (BJD). The current Chief Minister of Odisha is BJD leader Naveen Patnaik, who has led a government since March 2000. Other parties represented in the parliament are the Bharatiya Janata Party which form the official opposition, Indian National Congress and Communist Party of India (Marxist). The next assembly election is due to be held in May 2024.

Odisha is represented by 21 MPs in the Loksabha, the lower house of Indian parliament. They are elected from territory-based constituencies. In the upper house of parliament, Rajya sabha, Odisha is represented by 10 representatives who are elected by the state legislative assembly members.


The current territory of Odisha was part of Bengal presidency during British Raj. Bengal presidency was bifurcated to create province of Bihar and Orissa. In 1936, the Province of Orissa was created out of all the Odia speaking areas of Bihar and Orissa province, portions of the Vizagapatam Hill Tracts Agency and Ganjam Hill Tracts Agency.

The Government of India Act provided for the election of a provincial legislative assembly and a responsible government. The head of government was designated as Prime Minister. Elections for the assembly were held in 1937, and the Indian National Congress won a majority of the seats but declined to form the government. A minority provisional government was formed under Krushna Chandra Gajapati, the Maharaja of Paralakhemundi. Congress reversed its decision and resolved to accept office in July 1937. Therefore, the Governor invited Biswanath Das to form the government. In 1939, along with Congress ministries in other provinces, Das resigned in protest of the Governor-General's declaration of war on Germany without consulting with Indian leaders, and Orissa came under Governor's Rule till 1941 when Krushna Chandra Gajapati was again made the Premier. This government lasted till 1944. Another round of elections were held in 1946, yielding another Congress majority, and a government was formed under Harekrushna Mahatab.

With independence of India the post of Prime minister was replaced with Chief Minister. Harekrushna Mahatab became the first chief minister of Odisha state of Independent India. Post independence most the Odia speaking princely states acceded to India and were merged with Odisha. In 1951-52 the first elections were held under newly adopted constitution. Congress won the plurality of the seats but failed to get outright majority. A coalition government was formed by Nabakrushna Choudhury with the support of independents.

Political Parties[edit]

The state has mix of active political parties which are both national and regional. Here are the current active political parties.

  • Aam Aadmi Party - AAP is recognised as a regional party in Odisha.[1] In 2019 general elections it won 0.6% of the votes and no seats.[2]
  • All India Forward Bloc - AIFB is a recognised regional party with West Bengal as its hearquarters.[3] In 2019 Odisha Vidhan Sabha elections it won 0.4% vote and no seats.[2]
  • All India Jharkhand Party - The All India Jharkhand Party is a regional political party in India based in Jharkhan separate Jharkhand state.It had limited support in Odisha. In 1971 elections it won four assembly seats.
  • All India Trinamool Congress - AITC is a recognised national party headed by Mamata Banerjee.In 2019 Odisha Vidhan Sabha elections it won 0.7% vote and no seats.[2]
  • Biju Janata Dal - BJD is an offshoot of Janata Dal Headed by Naveen Patnaik. It is recognised as a regional party in Odisha. It was established in 1997. Since then it has been leading the state government in successive elections.In the 2019 elections the party won 44.71% of the votes and 112 seats.[2] Additionally the Party also won 12 seats in the Loksabha elections.[4]
  • Bharatiya Janata Party - BJP is a national party led by Narendra Modi. It was a coalition partner of BJD from 1997 to 2009. Since then it has been in opposition in state assembly.In 2019 Vidhansabha election The party won 32.5% of the votes and 23 Seats.[2] It also won 8 seats in 2019 Loksabha elections from Odisha.[4]
  • Bahujan Samaj Party - BSP is a recognised national party. In 2019 Odisha Vidhan Sabha elections it won 0.82% vote and no seats.[2]
  • Communist Party Of India - CPI is a recognised regional party with presence in multiple states. In 2019 Odisha Vidhan Sabha elections it won 0.12% vote and no seats.[2]
  • Communist Party Of India(Marxist) - CPM is a recognised regional party with presence in multiple states. In 2019 Odisha Vidhan Sabha elections it won 0.3% vote and one seat.[2]
  • Indian National Congress - INC is a national party that dominated the state politics winning multiple elections up to 2000. Since then it has been in oppositin. In 2019 Odisha Vidhan Sabha elections it won 16.12% vote and nine seats.[2]
  • Jharkhand Mukti Morcha - JMM is a regional political party in Jharkhand . JMM is also influential in some areas of Odisha.Its best performance has been in 2004 when it won 4 assembly seats and one parliamentary seat.
  • Jharkhand Party - The JKP is a political party in India which grew out of the demand for a separate Jharkhand state.It had limited support in Odisha. In 1974 assembly elections it won one seat.

Historically there have been other political parties that have influenced state politics . Some most important but now defunct political parties are as below.

  • All India Ganatantra Parishad -All India Ganatantra Parishad also known as the Ganatanra Parishad (GP) was a regional political party based in Odisha . It was active from 1950 to 1962. This party was formed by the former rulers of the erstwhile princely states and big landlords.It was founded in 1950 with Rajendra Narayan Singh Deo its president. In 1962, it merged with the Odisha unit of the Swatantra Party after the parliamentary elections.In its 12 years of existence it was principal opposition twice and part of the coalition government in 1959.
  • Swatantra Party - Swatantra Party was a classical liberal party formed by C Rajagopalachari in 1959. 1967 Odisha assembly elections Swatantra Party won a plurality of votes and formed a coalition government with Rajendra Narayan Singh Deo as chief minister and Orissa Jana Congress as alliance partner. In subsequent assemblies Swatantra sat in opposition.
  • Orissa Jana Congress - Orissa Jana Congress was formed in 1966 by former Chief Minister Harekrushna Mahatab after he left the Indian National Congress. After the 1967 elections the Jana Congress took part in a coalition government in the state together with Swatantra Party. That government lasted from 1967 to 1969. In the 1971 and 1974 state elections the Jana Congress fared badly, and could only win a single seat. In 1977 the Jana Congress merged into the Janata Party.
  • Praja Socialist Party - PSP was a national party founded by merger of the Socialist Party, led by Jayprakash Narayan, with the Kisan Mazdoor Praja Party led by J.B. Kripalani. In 1957 elections to state assembly it won 10% of the votes and 10 seats. Its highest tally so far has been in 1967 elections when it won 125 of the votes and 21 seats.
  • Janata Party - JNP was an amalgam of Indian political parties opposed to the Emergency that was imposed by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. In Odisha Janata Party formed government in 1977 with Nilamani Routray as chief minister.The government lasted 2 years and ultimately fall with Janata party splitting up.
  • Janata Dal - Janata Dal was an national party which was formed through the merger of Janata Party factions, the Lok Dal, Indian National Congress (Jagjivan), and the Jan Morcha united. In Odisha Janata Dal led by Biju patnaik headed the state Government from 1990 to 1995. It was also principal opposition from 1995 to 1997 till its split in 1997.
  • Utkal Congress - UC was formed in 1969 when Biju Patnaik left Indian National Congress. After the 1971 Odisha elections UC won 33 seats and 23% of the votes. It was a partner in the Biswanath Das led coalition government . In 1974 Utkal Congress merged into Bharatiya Lok Dal.
  • Odisha Gana Parishad- The OGP was a splinter group of Biju Janata Dal. The party was founded on October 29, 2000 under leadership of Bijoy Mohapatra.In the 2004 elections OGP allied with Indian National Congress. OGP had four candidates to the Odisha state legislative assembly, out of whom two got elected.In 2007, OGP merged with Nationalist Congress Party.

Chief ministers[edit]

Since independence, the Chief Ministers of Odisha have been:

No.: Incumbent No.

No. Name Took office Left office Term[5][6] Political party
1 Harekrushna Mahatab 15 August 1947 12 May 1950 1 Indian National Congress
2 Nabakrushna Choudhury 12 May 1950 19 October 1956 1st: 12 May 1950–20 Feb 1952
2nd: 20 Feb 1952–19 Oct 1956
Indian National Congress
(1) Harekrushna Mahatab 19 October 1956 25 February 1961 2nd: 19 Oct 1956–6 Apr 1957
3rd: 6 Apr 1957–22 May 1959
4th: 22 May 1959–25 Feb 1961
Indian National Congress
3 Biju Pattanaik 23 June 1961 2 October 1963 1 Indian National Congress
4 Biren Mitra 2 October 1963 21 February 1965 1 Indian National Congress
5 Sadashiva Tripathy 21 February 1965 8 March 1967 1 Indian National Congress
6 Rajendra Narayan Singh Deo 8 March 1967 9 January 1971 1 Swatantra Party and Orissa Jana Congress
7 Biswanath Das 3 April 1971 14 June 1972 1 United Front (Swatantra Party + Utkal Congress + Jharkhand Party)
8 Nandini Satpathy 14 June 1972 3 March 1973 1st: 14 Jun 1972–3 Mar 1973
2nd: 6 Mar 1974–16 Dec 1976
Indian National Congress
9 Binayak Acharya 29 December 1976 30 April 1977 1 Indian National Congress
10 Nilamani Routray 26 June 1977 17 February 1980 1 Janata Party
11 Janaki Ballabh Pattanaik 9 June 1980 7 December 1989 1st: 9 Jun 1980–10 Mar 1985
2nd: 10 Mar 1985–7 Dec 1989
Indian National Congress
12 Hemananda Biswal 7 December 1989 5 March 1990 1 Indian National Congress
(3) Biju Pattanaik 5 March 1990 15 March 1995 2 Janata Dal
(11) Janaki Ballabh Pattanaik 15 March 1995 17 February 1999 3 Indian National Congress
13 Giridhar Gamang 17 February 1999 6 December 1999 1 Indian National Congress
(12) Hemananda Biswal 6 December 1999 5 March 2000 2 Indian National Congress
14 Naveen Patnaik 5 March 2000 present 1st: 5 Mar 2000–16 May 2004
2nd: 16 May 2004–21 May 2009
3rd: 21 May 2009–21 May 2014
4th: 21 May 2014– 4th term in progress
Biju Janata Dal


  • First Vidhan Sabha(1952–57) - Elections to the first legislative assembly of Odisha were held in 1951–52. Indian national Congress won 67 seats with 37.87% of the vote. Ganatantra Parishad with 31 seats and 20.50% of votes.[7] Congress fell short of simple majority but managed to form a government with support of independents with Nabakrushna Choudhuri as Chief minister. Solialist part of India and Communist Party Of India got 10 and 7 seats respectively. 24 independents got elected as well. Nabakrushna Choudhuri resigned in the wake of flood devastation of 1955 and Harekrushna Mahtab returned as Chief Minister.
  • Second Vidhan Sabha(1957–62) - Elections to the second legislative assembly of Odisha were held in 1957.[8] Congress won a plurality with 56 seats and Ganatantra Parishad 51 seats. Congress formed Government under Harekrushna Mahtab's leadership.

The most recent election was held in 2019. Biju Janata Dal came back to power with a majority by winning 112 seats out of 147 seats. The BJP, won 23 seats becoming the main opposition. The INC won 9 seats.


  1. ^ Guest (10 October 2018). "Aam Aadmi Party (Loksabha) (AP, Telangana & Odisha)". Election Commission of India. Retrieved 6 September 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Election Commission of India". Assembly Election 2019. Retrieved 6 September 2019.
  3. ^ Guest (27 September 2018). "All India Forward Bloc". Election Commission of India. Retrieved 6 September 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Odisha Lok Sabha Election Result 2019, Odisha Assembly and General Poll Result 2019 – IndiaToday". IndiaToday. 5 July 2019. Retrieved 6 September 2019.
  5. ^ The ordinal number of the term being served by the person specified in the row in the corresponding period
  6. ^ "Brief History of Orissa Legislative Assembly Since 1937". ws.ori.nic.in. 2011. Archived from the original on 9 January 2007. Retrieved 23 April 2012. NAME OF THE CHIEF MINISTERS OF ORISSA
  7. ^ Bailey, F.G. (1963). Politics and Social Change: Orissa in 1959. Campus: Géographie. University of California Press. p. 3. ISBN 978-0-520-01678-1. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  8. ^ Bailey, F.G. (1963). Politics and Social Change: Orissa in 1959. Campus: Géographie. University of California Press. p. 4. ISBN 978-0-520-01678-1. Retrieved 9 September 2019.