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Pradeep Pattanayak

With Presidential and Vice-Presidential elections are just a couple of months away, speculation is rife in political circle in Odisha about what would be the Biju Janata Dal’s next move. 

During his recent visit to New Delhi, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik while replying to the queries of national media said the BJD would like to be independent. 

Naveen’s this reply has left political pundits guessing about his party’s move. 

“Chief Minister always takes right decision. This time too he will take right decision,” said Labour Minister Sushant Singh. 

“The process which has been launched to create a common consensus on Presidential and Vice-Presidential elections is a good sign for the democratic system,” observed BJP general secretary Prithviraj Harichandan.

Informing about the party’s exercise ahead of the elections, Congress MLA Mohammed Moquim said, “Tomorrow we will have a CWC meeting and on May 13, 14 and 15, there will be ‘chintan sibir’ where discussion on Presidential and Vice-Presidential elections will definitely take place."

It is worth mentioning here that in the last such elections, the BJD had supported the NDA’s presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind and UPA’s Vice-Presidential candidate Gopal Krishna Gandhi.   

Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has started its exercises to reach out its allies amid the speculations that the opposition will field a joint candidate. 

As a part of this process, Union Minister of Education Dharmendra Pradhan had met Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday.  
The BJP has Bihar as its top priority because Nitish has a past record of supporting opposition’s presidential candidate. In 2012, despite being part of the NDA, he had supported Pranab Mukherjee. Similarly in 2017, he had supported Ram Nath Kovind despite being part of grand alliance in Bihar. 

“Despite being in the NDA, Nitish is not pleased so the party reached out to him in the first place. And Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan was chosen because he has a good relationship with Nitish Kumar. However, Odisha’s Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Andhra Pradesh's Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy are in their (BJP) focus. Their prime objective is to get one of the two leaders or both of them,” said senior journalist Rabi Das. 
 

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