BJD’s NDA-slant sets alliance chatter in motion

Bhubaneswar: After BJD-supported and NDA-backed candidate Harivansh Narayan Singh was elected Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha, speculations of a possible pre or post-poll alliance of the BJD and the BJP are gathering steam in Odisha politics.

While both the parties have blatantly denied chances of any such alliance, Congress has termed the BJP as the ‘B-Team’ of the ruling-BJD in Odisha and accused them of having a secret unholy nexus.

“BJP is BJD’s B-Team in Odisha. BJD’s support to NDA today has tied the hands of the CBI and now both the parties will carry out their programmes in the State together as per their wish,” said senior Congress leader and RS member, Ranjib Biswal.

Responding to Biswal’s CBI-jibe, BJD RS member Pratap Deb said, “People will say we supported fearing CBI and raise questions how enemies became friends, but the fact is we have always maintained equal distance from both the BJP and the Congress. We are working as per the decisions of the party president taking into account the interest of the State and people.”

Reacting to questions on a possible alliance, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said that several political parties supported NDA’s candidate because of Harivansh’s image.

“It’s not only BJD, several parties who are not part of NDA supported us this time because Harivansh is an undisputed person,” said Pradhan.

On the other hand, BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra said that BJD will continue its fight for the interests of Odisha and the party didn’t support NDA in the Upper House.

“We will continue the way we have been fighting for the interests of the State. This was only a support to the JD (U),” Patra added.

BJP spokesperson Golaka Mohapatra also said that the support in RS doesn’t mean the saffron party will stop its fight against the misgovernance of BJD in Odisha.

However, senior Congress leader and former Finance Minister, P Chidambaram slammed the BJD and tweeted: “BJD is shooting itself in the foot by voting for the NDA candidate when NDA has declared its goal is to defeat Naveen Patnaik’s party! The margin was only 20 votes. If the BJD had acted as a true Opposition party, the result would have been different.”

Meanwhile, political experts believe that the support of BJD will have an impact on the political equations during the 2019 elections.