Himansu Shekhar Rout

Speculations on the possibility of an alliance between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Biju Janata Dal(BJD) had earlier intensified for three days particularly after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik were seen at the Chandikhole meeting and thereafter top leaders of the two parties held meetings separately. 

But the speculations ebbed when three heavy-weight leaders of the BJP Manmohan Samal, Odisha in-charge Vijaypal Singh Tomar, and co-in-charge Lata Usendi denied any talks about the alliance and made it clear that the party will fight both Lok Sabha and Assembly elections on its own strength in Odisha. 

Meanwhile, amid the suspense on the alliance, Manmohan Samal, organizational secretary Manas Mohanty, Odisha in-charge Vijaypal Singh Tomar, and co-in-charge Lata Usendi left for New Delhi in the evening.

Talking to reporters at the airport, Samal said, ”We are leaving for Delhi to discuss about elections, strategies, campaigning and our preparedness for 21 Lok Sabha and 147 Assembly seats in Odisha. We will talk to the top leaders.”
As for the possibility of a collation, Samal evaded, saying, ”It will not be wise on my part to say anything about it.” 

All the three leaders earlier reiterated that there was no discussion about alliance with the BJD at the core committee meeting in New Delhi and the party is preparing to fight alone in all the seats. 

Lata Usendi told media, “The party has been fully preparing for elections in all the seats in Odisha.”  

However, the silence of the topmost leaders of the BJD on the issue has deepened the suspense amid conflicting signals from some ruling party leaders.  

On Saturday, MLA Nrushigha Sahoo’s statements again gave rise to the alliance speculation. He said that the BJD was keen on an alliance in the larger interest of the state, even though three BJP leaders have asserted that the party core committee’s meeting has not discussed about the alliance and the party has been preparing to fight for all Lok Sabha and Assembly seats.  

People and political observers are in doubt if talks on alliance are underway or being carried out clandestinely or the talks are getting stuck amid some bottlenecks like seat-sharing ratio. 

All are waiting with bated breath when smokescreens over the alliance speculations will be removed as no BJD leaders are coming out with clear assertions that the party will go solo and not forge an alliance with BJP.        

BJD leader Amar Patnaik said, ”Don’t you think we should get into more discussion about it? We leave it to the wisdom and sagacity of the Chief Minister. For his love for the people of the state, he would decide at appropriate time about whatever is in the interests of the state.”
CMC Mayor Subash Singh said,” It is an important message. The top leadership will decide on it. 

As for collation talks, political analyst Akshaya Sahoo said.”Suspense on the alliance is still there. Some leaders of the two parties want to carry forward the talks on alliance. A clear picture is likely this evening or tomorrow morning.”

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