Bhubaneswar: Clearing the air on upcoming Presidential polls, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday categorically ruled out possibilities of ‘cross voting’ by any leaders from his Biju Janata Dal (BJD).
The statements of Patnaik came after his meeting with National Democratic Alliance (NDA’s) Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind at Bhubaneswar.
Patnaik’s statements assume significance as earlier Congress Chief Whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati had maintained that several MPs from BJD, Shiv Sena and even BJP would vote for UPA candidate Meira Kumar.
Bahinipati’s claims came after few BJD MP’s had questioned Patnaik’s immediate announcement of extending support to NDA’s Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind soon after a telephonic conversation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“I don’t think so at all,” said Patnaik in his reaction to media questions on cross voting.
Patnaik further stated that, “My party (BJD) is supporting Ram Nath Kovind as the presidential candidate and we had a meeting today. We requested all MLAs, MPs of the party to support Kovind,” Patnaik added.
Earlier today, Ram Nath Kovind met ruling BJD MLAs and MPs at Odisha Assembly and had lunch with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik during his one-day visit here.
Kovind, accompanied by Union Health Minister JP Nadda later spent an hour at Naveen Niwas, the chief minister’s residence for a luncheon meeting with Patnaik.
“I am very happy to be here and grateful for the support of BJD led by Naveen Patnaik,” said Kovind.
BJD’s Kendrapara MP Baijayant Panda stated that Ram Nath Kovind during the meeting assured all leaders that he will not ignore any State or language.
MP AU Singh Deo said, “We appreciated Ram Nath Kovind who assured to be impartial as President of India.”
Singh Deo further informed that the leaders of the party apprised Kovind of several issues including development of KBK region, tribal development in Odisha.