BJD positive but cautious to Third Front move

Bhubaneswar: The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has responded positively to the proposal for a federal front mooted by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee after her spectacular victory in the Assembly elections yesterday. But the party has stopped short of pledging its support for such a move.

While accepting that there is need for such a front, BJD leader in the Lok Sabha Bhartruhari Mahatab said it can take shape only in 2018.

“There is Trinamool Congress. There is Anna DMK. Then there is Biju Janata Dal and several other regional parties. These parties have strengthened themselves in their own states. Successive elections have proved it. We want to form a front at the national level, which can take charge of the governance of the country when required. But it will take a definite shape only in 2018,” Mahatab said.

Soon after the election results came in yesterday, BJD supremo and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had complimented Mamata Banerjee and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha on Twitter, setting off speculation about BJD joining a federal front in political circles here.

BJD spokesperson Pratap Keshari Deb, however, was non-committal on BJD joining such a front.

“We have been equidistant from the Congress and the BJP. If a proposal comes for a third alternative, our party president would take a call on it after considering what shape it takes and what would be the modalities for the formation of such a front,” he said.

Political observers are of the opinion that it is too early to talk about a federal front.

“They need to unite. But it will take six months to one year to know whether these efforts would succeed. But a 20-member party can at best join it, it cannot lead the front,’ senior journalist and political commentator K Ravi said.

Notably,after showing some initial interest, the BJD had backed out from an initiative launched by the Left and a few other regional parties in the run up to the 2014 elections.