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Saswat Singhdeo

Bhubaneswar: After Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP national president Amit Shah praising Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik while comparing governance with West Bengal, has added more fuel to speculations that BJP and BJD are cosying up to each other ahead of May 23 verdict.

During a press conference today, Amit Shah while slamming West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee over violence during his rally yesterday in Kolkata, commended CM Naveen saying that there are different kind of governments in India and Odisha is one of them, but such violence is not present there, while it is present in the TMC-ruled state.

Clarifying Shah’s comment, Odisha BJP General Secretary Prithviraj Harichandan said, “There were violent incidents in Odisha but there is a hell and heaven difference in comparison to what happened in West Bengal. Amit Shah was mentioning about that.”

The mutual appreciation of BJD and the BJP over the past few weeks has triggered speculations of changing equations between both the parties. While Prime Minister Modi during his visit to Odisha on May 6, had also openly showered praise on Patnaik and said "Naveen Babu has done a good job in evacuating people to safer places;" Naveen Patnaik reciprocated by thanking the central government as well as union minister Dharmendra Pradhan for post cyclone Fani assistance.

On the other hand, Congress party is trying its best to unite the opposition parties for which it has reportedly called for a meeting on May 23, the day when the general election results will be declared. The national party has reportedly written to Odisha CM inviting him to attend the meeting. Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath is learnt to have personally called his Odisha counterpart requesting him to attend the meeting.

“While BJP is assembling all its allies, our leader Sonia Gandhi has sent an invitation to Naveen Patnaik, but it is difficult to say which side he will choose,” said Odisha Congress leader, Suresh Routray.

In response, BJD spokesperson Pratab Deb said, “It is usual to receive invitation not only for BJD but all parties. Post poll discussions between parties are normal.”

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