BJD MP’s statements raise questions over party’s ‘equidistant’ policy

Bhubaneswar: Many tongues have been left wagging by the statements of senior BJD leader Tathagata Satpathy published in a national daily on February 14 which stated that the party president and chief minister Naveen Patnaik will support the party which will be able to provide a stable government at the Centre. BJD’s Dhenkanal MP further stated whichever party comes to power, if it takes care of the interests of Odisha, BJD will lend its support to it.

However, such statements have raised questions on BJD’s oft-repeated ‘equidistant policy’ at a time when talks are doing rounds that the party might play a significant role if in case of a coalition government.

Earlier, on October 27 last year, Satpathy had stated that if BJD gets success in the ensuing polls, the party chief might expect a bigger role at the centre.

However, the party has distanced itself from the remarks of Satpathy.

In his reaction, BJD MP Kalikesh Singh Deo said “Our support to a party is issue-based, instead of ideologies. I think Chief Minister has cleared his stance and thereafter opinion or remark from anyone does not matter.”

“It conveys that the party will help those who will get close to form a stable government at the Centre. I believe Satpathy’s statements show that the party is keeping its options open,” said Rabi Das, senior journalist.

Congress stated the regional party’s equidistant policy and talks of safeguarding State’s interests are political gimmicks.

“Equidistance is only an excuse to get a protection from CBI probe,” said Panchanan Kanungo, Congress leader.

On the other hand, BJP said BJD is owned by Naveen Patnaik and Dhenkanal MP’s statements have no significance.

“In 2014 elections, BJP got the mandate to form the government at the Centre. I believe there will be larger mandate during the 2019 elections. I don’t see much relevance of Satpathy’s statements,” stated Suresh Pujari, national secretary, BJP.