Old friend or new ally: Odisha CM Naveen’s dilemma over Vice-Presidential pick

Bhubaneswar: Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik might be finding himself in a dilemma over his choice of candidate for the post of Vice-President of India. After pledging his support to NDA candidate for the President’s post Ram Nath Kovind, an old friend of Naveen, Gopalkrishna Gandhi has been fielded as the Vice-President candidate by the UPA camp.

If Naveen pledges his support to Gopalkrishna, then it will pit him against the NDA. Given Naveen’s rapport with Gopalkrishna, experts believe that it will be a tough decision for him.

“I have known Mr Gopal Gandhi for many years now and much before I entered politics,” Naveen had said in 2012 after meeting Gopalkrishna.

On the other hand, even though the NDA is yet to announce the vice president candidate; names of Odisha Governor SC Jamir and Jharkhand Governor Draupadi Murmu are doing the rounds.

“Friendship and politics are on different tracks. Party president Naveen will take a final call after discussing with all the senior members of the party. There is no dilemma here,” said BJD spokesperson Sameer Dash.

Meanwhile, NDA’s presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind is scheduled to visit Odisha tomorrow to garner support. However, he will be meeting the BJD and BJP leaders separately.