Mrunal Manmay Dash

Amidst the suspense over the BJD-BJP alliance with two senior leaders of the ruling party visiting Delhi recently, BJP's election in-charge for Odisha Vijaypal Singh Tomar on Saturday categorically stated that no leader met him.

Tomar also tried to clear the air by stating that no discussion took place regarding any alliance. He went on to say that the BJP is doing all preparations to fight the upcoming elections.

“We will win more than 80 MLA and 16 Lok Sabha seats here in Odisha. There was no discussion in the BJP about an alliance with BJD. People should ask the people who floated the idea of an alliance. But we are preparing to fight on all 147 seats in Odisha,” Tomar said.

It is pertinent to mention here that two BJD leaders- 5T chairperson VK Pandian and BJD organizational secretary Pranab Prakash Das visited New Delhi in a special flight on Thursday evening, reportedly to carry forward the discussions with the BJP on the modalities of a coalition.

However, Tomar refuted any meetings with them. “Nobody from BJD met me in Delhi. If anybody had met with our Central leaders, then they would have informed me,” Tomar added.

Notably, after a series of meetings at Naveen Niwas, senior BJD leader Debi Mishra had told the media earlier that a discussion on the alliance was held and the decision would be taken in the interests of the people of Odisha.

Similarly, BJD MLA Nrusingha Charan Sahu on Saturday stated that alliance or no alliance, BJD is going to win at least 110 Assembly seats in Odisha.

Speaking to reporters, Sahu said, “I have heard speculations about an alliance. CM Naveen Patnaik will take the final call on that. BJD has agreed to an alliance only in the interest of Odisha. The people of Odisha will be benefitted from the alliance. While some BJD ticket aspirants will be displeased after not getting tickets, I do not think anybody will revolt in BJD.”

Commenting on Nrusingha Sahu’s statement, Gopalpur MLA and BJP leader Pradeep Panigrahi said, “State BJP president has already clarified twice everything on the alliance. He is the only authority in Odisha who can say anything on this clearly. And he has cleared that there has been no discussion about the alliance. There is no basis for the speculation about a coalition.”

“BJP will fight alone in Odisha. It will also send many MPs to Delhi to form the NDA government at the Centre as well. There is no doubt about that. The support for the BJP was evident at PM Modi’s public meeting at Chandikhol. It was like a saffron tsunami,” Panigrahi added.

Asked about BJD MLA Nrusingha Charan Sahu’s statement to win 110 Assembly seats in Odisha, Panigrahi said, “If they actually mean it, then why don’t they declare they are going alone in the election and fighting BJP on the ground?”

It is pertinent to mention here that Odisha BJP chief Manmohan Samal who returned after talks with Central leaders from Delhi on Friday, dismissed the talk of the alliance and stated that no such talks took place in Delhi.

During his visit to Bhadrak today, he reiterated his earlier statement. He said, "Who is campaigning about the alliance in the state? You have to catch its roots. Only the one who started the discussion can answer it. There will be a wave of lotus in Odisha in the upcoming elections.”