Naveen’s flip-flop on ‘equidistance policy’ raises eyebrows

Bhubaneswar: Things change thick and fast in politics. If one needs to know how, then recent statement of BJD supremo and Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik on his party’s ‘equidistance policy’ has turned out to be the best example.

In a matter of a few days, Patnaik, who had clearly stated in an interview to NDTV that BJD is equidistant from Congress and the BJP, has now changed his stance in another interview to India Today.

In the latest interview to India Today, Patnaik said, “Whichever government supports the just causes of Odisha, we will support that coalition whether it is UPA, NDA or anyone.”

The change in BJD’s equidistance policy comes just days after the first phase polls and it has now sparked speculations at a time when major political parties including the ruling BJD and BJP are at loggerheads ahead of the crucial second phase polls.

Naveen’s fresh comments not only warmed up the political turf but raised several questions on what forced the BJD chief to alter his stance.

Whether such decision has something to do with the first phase polls or whether Naveen will extend support to its former alliance partner, the NDA, if it falls short of majority to form government at the Centre?

Possibility of BJD extending support to Modi government cannot be ruled out as the party will look to capitalise its chances to remain relevant in national politics. Be it the Rajya Sabha elections or extending support during passage of several bills in the Parliament, there are precedents of BJD siding with NDA on several issues in the past.

However, whether BJD will support the alliance led by Congress is still a million dollar question.
Odisha BJP vice president Samir Mohanty said, “CM Naveen very well knows that the ground is slipping from under his feet. Out of fear, he (Naveen) is trying to get cosy with the Congress.”

Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president, Niranjan Patnaik on the other hand said, “As CM Naveen is apprehensive about his party losing the polls, he is trying to get close to others.”