Op-Ed: Will BJP and BJD Join Hands Again?

By Ashutosh Mishra

Bhubaneswar: Commenting on the likely post-poll scenario, BJP leader, Pradeep Purohit made an interesting remark. “ In politics there are no permanent enemies or friends,” he said apparently referring to the possibility of BJP and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) helping each other if the situation so demands after the announcement of results on May 23.

Purohit’s statement, which came in the context of Prime Minister, Narendra Modi’s praise for chief minister, Naveen Patnaik for his efficient handling of cyclone Fani, reflects his political maturity. In politics the only thing permanent are interests. Politicians can go to any length to achieve their objectives. They can make all kinds of compromises and embrace their worst enemies like long lost friends if it serves their purpose.

The possibility of BJP and BJD cozying upto each other in a situation of mutual need has always been there. Despite their divergent ideologies they make perfect partners because their needs are similar and both can sacrifice principles at the altar of political expediency.

Besides they have done business in the past. They ruled the state in tandem for over nine years. Though for the better part of this period they lived by hammer and tongs the coalition still survived which is a tribute to the resilience of the two parties and the pragmatism of their leaders.

Even after separation there have been several instances of BJD helping the BJP. For example the Patnaik-led party had helped NDA government get the crucial Mines and Minerals Development ( Amendment) Bill, 2015 passed in the Rajya Sabha at a time when Modi was facing a tough time in the parliament’s Upper House.

Odisha’s most successful regional party had also voted for NDA nominee, Ram Nath Kovind in the presidential polls in 2017. Last year while it voted for NDA candidate for the post of Rajya Sabha deputy chairperson it also staged a convenient walk out in the Lok Sabha during the no-trust vote against the Modi government in July.

Equally important is the fact that Patnaik has been conducting his politics quite flexibly and taking stand on various issues according to the situation. For example he had rejected the proposal to join the Mahagathbandhan ( grand alliance) of non-BJP parties only to make sure that he retains his flexibility. His response even to Telengana chief minister, K. Chandrashekhar Rao’s offer to join the efforts to evolve a federal front of regional parties a few months ago was rather lukewarm.

Though Patnaik follows an avowed policy of maintaining equidistance from BJP and Congress, he has been making deviations to suit his needs. He also made it clear recently that the most important consideration for his party’s support to a central coalition would be its ability and commitment to protect the interests of Odisha.

This suits both Patnaik and Modi and one won’t be surprised if BJP and BJD join hands again though most of the state leaders of these parties can’t stand each other. This is what politics is all about.

(DISCLAIMER: This is an opinion piece. The views expressed are author’s own and have nothing to do with OTV’s charter or views. OTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)