Vikash Sharma

Odisha Chief Minister and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday cleared the air surrounding their meeting ahead of the crucial 2024 elections.

Though it was speculated that Nitish will hold talks with Naveen Patnaik to give a push to unite opposition parties and forge a grand opposition alliance against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), no political discussions were held in this regard claimed Odisha CM.

“There was no discussion held on any alliance today. I am delighted that Nitish ji is in Bhubaneswar. We are old friends and colleagues ever since the time we served in Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s cabinet. We had discussions for one and half acres land in Puri. The land will be given to Bihar government free of cost for construction of Bihar Bhawan for the tourists coming to Puri to have darshan of Lord Jagannath.”

According to Patnaik, both he and Nitish share very old friendship and no discussions were held on any alliance today.

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar said, “Our relation with Biju Babu and Naveen Ji is very old. Due to Covid ,we could not meet. No political discussions were held. We have good relations and there is no need to discuss any politics.”

Even though the ruling party has been claiming that its stand has always been to remain equidistant from the Congress and the BJP, it remains to be seen what course the meeting of Bihar CM and Odisha CM take in near future.

It is pertinent to mention here that Bihar CM Nitish Kumar has already met leaders of several political parties including West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, Samajwadi Party Akhilesh Yadav and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal to form an opposition front.

Earlier, West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee had also met CM Naveen Patnaik in the month of March this year.

It is pertinent to mention here that despite exiting NDA, the BJD has supported the BJP government in the passage of several important Bills in Parliament in the past.

Commenting on Naveen-Nitish meet earlier in the day, BJP leader Prithviraj Harichandan said, “Naveen never maintains equidistance. Naveen only does what is in his interest and if he thinks that going to third front will help, he might do so and if doesn’t help, he will not go.”

According to Harichandan, such meetings will not affect BJP and no matter how many fronts are created it will not impact BJP. There is no comparison of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity and welfare works, he said.

BJD MLA, Soumya Ranjan Patnaik said, “Bihar CM Nitish Kumar is thinking of a reformative and alternative front in the country. He will discuss the matter with our CM Naveen Patnaik. But CM Naveen has already cleared that BJD will maintain equidistance from the Congress and BJP.”

However, Patnaik further said that BJD has always kept Odisha’s interest on the front. “Those who will help to achieve this, our party will go with them as we do not have any permanent friend or enemy,” he added.

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