Jaitley’s lunch with Naveen irks Congress
Bhubaneswar: Just five days after the Amit Shah’s speech in Bhubaneswar slamming the Naveen Patnaik-led BJD government on a host of issues, the camaraderie between Union Finance minister Arun Jaitley and the chief minister during the former’s visit to the Make in Odisha conclave has sparked speculations over the BJP-BJD relationship. Though this has left the State BJP in a tight spot, the Congress has once again alleged secret bonding between the BJP and BJD.
Notably, after attending the conclave, Jaitley had lunch with Naveen at his residence – Naveen Niwas- while the State BJP team was waiting for the Union minister to address their own party members. Moreover, prior to the lunch programme, Jaitley also praised the State government for its support on some of the major reforms undertaken by the Modi-led NDA government at the Centre. Further speculations of a close relationship between the two parties, once bête noire, were fuelled after Naveen was named as one of the members of the committee formed by the Central government for a cashless economy.
“Amit Shah came to Odisha and posed a few questions to CM Naveen. Arun Jaitley came to Odisha and gave the answers to the same. There is a secret alliance between the BJP and BJD, and the strength of the bond was visible during Jaitley’s visit,” said Opposition leader, Narsingh Mishra.
However, many believe Jaitley’s approach towards the State government and the ruling-party supremo seems to have sent baffling signals to the State BJP organization especially after the thunderous criticisms made by national president Amit Shah only a few days back.
In his response, State BJP president Basant Panda said, “Jaitley was called as a guest and he accepted the invitation courteously and visited Naveen Niwas. There is no politics in this and it will not affect Odisha BJP.”
On the other hand, BJD had refuted any political relationship with BJP. “There is no political relationship between BJP and the BJD. However, Odisha needs support of the Central government for which the Union minister came. Many union ministers have had lunch with Naveen Patnaik and it is not a one off phenomenon,” said BJD spokesperson Amar Satpathy.