Bhubaneswar: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's statement that Odisha CM and BJD president Naveen Patnaik is not ready to join the grand alliance due to 'CBI fear' has set tongues wagging in political circles with Congress accusing Naveen of playing an opportunist game.

During a media briefing at the Press Club of India on February 14, when Banerjee was asked about why Naveen Patnaik is not joining the grand alliance, Banerjee said, "He (Modi) has created a fear among all the parties."

Her statement soon heated up the political sphere in the State. While Congress alleged that Naveen is playing opportunist game by keeping an equidistant policy, BJP said Banerjee is currently getting along with those whom she was scolding earlier.

"He is afraid that the CBI might take action against him. Therefore, he is speaking of equidistance which shows his opportunist role. I believe Mamata Banerjee has given correct remark about Naveen Patnaik," said Sarat Rout, AICC secretary.

BJP general secretary Prithviraj Harichandan said, "Mamata is getting associated with those whom she was scolding earlier. Only she can tell why she is making such statement."

However, BJD said that the party always takes decision keeping the State's interests in mind. "She used to praise CM Naveen; we don't know what has led to the change in her views," said BJD spokesperson Sameer Das, adding that the party has always maintained equidistance from other parties.

Meanwhile, political expert Rabi Das said, "CBI's fear is definitely there. With the equidistant stance, Naveen Patnaik is indirectly indicating his inclination towards Modi."