BJD sends signals over possible support to NDA

BJD sends signals over possible support to NDA

BJD sends signals over possible support to NDA

The ruling BJD in Odisha today appeared to be sending signals to BJP over its possible outside support to an NDA government at the Centre.

While Odisha Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) supremo Naveen Patnaik remained non-committal on supporting an NDA formation, other party leaders did not rule out the possibility and favoured conditional support to NDA.

"No talks at all. We have not discussed anything. We have not thought of it yet. Let us wait till the results," Patnaik said.

However, BJD's chief whip Pravat Tripathy said, "Keeping in view the opinion of the whole country and the state's interest, there should be no problem in providing conditional support to NDA to form government at the Centre."

Senior BJD leader Jay Panda said the matter needs to be discussed within the party and a call on this will be taken by the party supremo.

"On this issue, Pravat Tripathi has suggested that conditional support can be given but this is an issue which needs discussion inside the party and ultimately the party leaders and president Naveen Patnaik will take the final call," Panda said.

Analysts, however, feel the BJD could support NDA as it would want BJP's support in the Odisha assembly in the event of BJD not getting an absolute majority there in the 147-member Assembly.

BJP leaders, on their part, have said their doors are open for any party which extends support to it even though they claim that NDA will get a clear majority.
Odisha has 21 Lok Sabha seats.

There was also speculation that NCP was cosying up to BJP ahead of formation of the next government, after its leader Praful Patel said the country should have a "stable" government which will "decisively govern" for the next five years.

The NCP, however, dismissed it saying the party will remain with UPA.

In Bhubaneswar, when Patnaik's attention was drawn to Tripathy's comment, the Odisha chief minister said, "I do not know about that."

"Let me say it quite clearly that there is no discussion or talks on alliance with any party," he said to repeated questions on BJD's possible support to NDA.

Asked whether BJD still maintains its stance of equal distance from BJP and Congress, Patnaik said, "Of course it has been the BJD's policy of maintaining equal distance both from BJP and Congress."

To a question on BJD's possible support to proposed Third Front, Patnaik said, "No such thoughts so far."

Patnaik's comments come amid speculation about talks between BJP and BJD for their possible support to NDA if it forms government at the Centre.

BJD was an NDA partner but parted ways ahead of the 2004 Lok Sabha elections.
BJD leaders are confident of getting a majority in the state assembly to form a government in Odisha for the fourth time.

BJD leader Pinaki Mishra said his party will get more than 10 Lok Sabha seats as also a majority in the Assembly, hoping that whichever government comes to power at the Centre it will be "less hostile and discriminatory" towards Odisha.