Will BJD have say in anti-BJP alliance?

Bhubaneswar: Chief minister Naveen Patnaik, who had been outright about maintaining equal distance from the BJP and the Congress in the past, today said that his party BJD has not thought about any alliance for the time being. Amid how things have turned out in Bijepur bypoll in Odisha and bypolls in UP and Bihar, the changed tone of Naveen is being construed by many as the party’s changing approach to alliance politics.

Replying to questions by newsmen on BJD’s plan to join the pan-India anti-BJP alliance, Patnaik said the party has not thought of any such alliance for the time being.

Such speculations of an anti-BJP alliance are being fuelled by the setbacks that the BJP suffered in the bypolls in UP and Bihar and that too in constituencies where they were least expected to. Even in Odisha, BJD trounced BJP by a huge margin in the recently-concluded bypoll in Bijepur Assembly constituency.

When asked about his take on the BJP’s debacle in the UP by-elections the results of which were declared yesterday, Naveen said the saffron party is shrinking quite fast.

On the other hand, BJP leader and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan attributed party’s loss in UP to over-confidence by party leaders and said the party is chalking out new strategies to strengthen its position in Odisha as well as at the national level.

“The BJP is preparing a strategy to strengthen the party’s organisation at the booth level. Congress votes will have a big say in the upcoming general elections. It remains to be seen who can capitalise on this Congress votebank which I think will be a deciding factor,” Pradhan said.

Stating that his party is eying to reclaim power, the union minister said “Odisha politics will witness a major decisive change in coming days.”

On the other hand, Congress said that BJP will have to face crisis in 2019 general elections similar to the Uttar Pradesh bypolls.

Senior Congress leader Ramachandra Khuntia said “The saffron party lost the people’s mandate since it has not done anything noticeable and as a result of which I think it will face similar problems in Odisha as well in the upcoming 2019 general elections.”

Meanwhile, senior BJD leader Prasanna Acharya said it is very natural that when a central party’s vote share reduces, the party which is more organised, proactive and people-oriented, just like the BJD, will capitalise.

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