BJD rules out return to NDA, to fight alone

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Bhubaneswar: After high drama in Bihar politics as Nitish Kumar returned to the NDA fold, the BJD on Thursday strongly denied rise of such situation in Odisha and ruled out any possible alliance with its former ally ahead of the 2019 polls.

Senior Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader and Panchayati Raj Minister Pradip Maharathy said the party would not return to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) fold.

“Nitish Kumar may have believed in ‘Jod-tod Ki Sarkar’, we are not going to have any alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). We are strong enough in Odisha and can counter any party in the ensuing elections,” said Maharathy.

“Naveen Babu is a lion and will always be like that. He can fight alone. We are with him always,” Maharathy added.

BJD vice president and minister Surya Narayan Patro also echoed similiar voice. “Odisha is completely different from Bihar. There is no question of such situation that will arise in Odisha,” he said.

Talk of a possible BJP-BJD alliance gained ground in the wake of BJD President Naveen Patnaik’s recent stand backing the BJP-led NDA government’s demonetisation, GST and the latest presidential choice.

The BJD has repeatedly claimed that it maintains equal distance from both the Congress and the BJP.

“The Chief Minister has been reiterating that our party will maintain an equal distance from the Congress and the BJP. There is least chance of any alliance with the BJP,” said BJD MLA Dibya Shankar Mishra.

The BJP was an ally in the state government led by the BJD for nine years from 2000 to 2009. BJD President and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik broke the alliance just before the 2009 Assembly polls in the state.

On its part, the state unit of the BJP also appears a little hesitant to talk about having an alliance with the ruling BJD.

“There is least possibility of any future alliance between the BJP and the BJD in Odisha for the 2019 general election. Our National President Amit Shah has already set a target to win 120 seats in the 2019 polls. We are working on that mission,” said BJP MLA Pradeep Purohit.

Congress however asserted Bihar-like situation will arise in Odisha very  soon. “Like JD(U)-BJP alliance, BJD will also go for same in future in fear of CBI inquiry or on basis of understanding,” Congress MLA Prakash Behera said.

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