In Odisha BJP finally managed to check BJD’s by-poll winning spree since 2019 by winning the prestigious Dhamnagar by-election. It won by a margin of 9,881 votes. Biju Janata Dal supremo Naveen Patnaik said he was not surprised by BJD’s loss. “I always respect the verdict of the people. We expected that BJP would win this by-election” said Patnaik. Why did BJD fail in Dhamnagar by-election when it was predicted to win by a margin of 30,000 votes? Analysts say, one, BJD’s strategy of playing women empowerment card, by fielding Abanti Das failed to counter BJP’s sympathy waves. BJP’s Suryabanshi managed to retain his father’s seat, though more women exercised their franchise this time. Two, possibly BJD’s women card failed to make an impact due to low voter turnout. Three, for BJD it was a self-goal, as it first promised former MLA Rajendra Das of a ticket then changed it at the last moment by nominating a new comer Abanti Das. This created internal dissension and mistrust. BJD also failed to prevail upon Rajendra Das to withdraw from the election race as an Independent. He polled 8,153 votes denting BJD’s vote share and finally making BJP win. Dhamnagar election debacle is a wakeup call for Naveen babu whether he should pursue experiments with women empowerment or rely on the tried and tested politicians to win the election race.