BJD, BJP blame each other for spreading alliance rumours

BJD, BJP blame each other for spreading alliance rumours

Bhubaneswar: The political landscape in Odisha is intensifying as both the ruling BJD and the Opposition BJP have accused each other of spreading...

Bhubaneswar: The political landscape in Odisha is intensifying as both the ruling BJD and the Opposition BJP have accused each other of spreading rumours regarding a potential alliance between the two parties ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

While BJP’s State president Manmohan Samal clarified that there were no talks or possibilities of a tie-up with the BJD, the party’s election in-charge Vijay Pal Singh Tomar accused the regional party of spreading such rumours.

The BJD’s national spokesperson Sasmit Patra rebutted the accusation, claiming that it was the BJP which initiated the alliance rumour. He asserted that the BJD is strong on its own and doesn’t require an alliance with any other party. ‘’The BJP is spreading the alliance rumours. In fact, there is no such need for the BJD to go for alliance with any party as the regional party was very strong with blessings of the people,’’ Patra told reporters on Saturday. ‘’We are unable to understand as to why they (BJP leaders) are spreading such rumours,’’ he said.

Patra said the BJD aims to secure a significant number of seats in both the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections, projecting confidence in Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s potential sixth term.

He said the BJD was optimistic to win 120 of the 147 Assembly seats and 17 of the 21 Lok Sabha seats in the 2024 elections. ‘’Patnaik will become the Chief Minister of Odisha for record sixth time,’’ Patra said. Regarding the departure of some BJD leaders ahead of the elections, Patra alleged that the BJP is welcoming individuals either expelled from the regional party or unlikely to receive tickets.

On the other hand, Tomar denied any discussion of an alliance with the BJD at the national level. He claimed that it was the BJD that floated the idea of an alliance. ‘’I do not know what discussion was held in the BJP Parliamentary Board meeting because I am not a member of the panel. As far as Odisha is concerned, no discussion was held about the Assembly polls,’’ Tomar said.

Samal also exuded confidence that the saffron party will win all 21 Lok Sabha seats and will also form the government in Odisha.

The alliance speculation gained momentum following interactions between Union Home Minister Amit Shah and V K Pandian, a close aide of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, in August last year, with subsequent instances of cooperation between BJD and BJP in legislative matters. The dynamics between Naveen and BJP’s national leaders, including praise from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shah, has fuelled the speculation, sources said.

Earlier, Shah had described Naveen as the ‘’popular chief minister.” Naveen, on his part, had given 8 of 10 marks to the Modi government at a public meeting in Bhubaneswar. The closeness between Naveen and the BJP’s national leaders reached its peak when the BJD supported BJP candidate Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw in the recently concluded Rajya Sabha elections.

Prime Minister Modi, who addressed a public meeting on February 3, also did not make adverse comment on the BJD or its leader Naveen. Modi even described Naveen as his ‘’Mitra’’ (friend) at a meeting held at IIM Sambalpur on February 3.

Though both the BJD and BJP rejected the possibility of an alliance before the 2024 polls, Congress leader and MLA Taraprasad Bahinipati on Sunday claimed that the Saffron party will go for a seat-sharing arrangement with the regional party. The Jeypore MLA claimed that Odisha is all set to witness seat-sharing between BJD and BJP for the upcoming Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.

The fact that not a single candidate from Odisha figures in the list of 196 nominees announced by BJP on Saturday clearly indicates that it is going to enter into a seat adjustment with the BJP in the State, he claimed.

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