Naveen-Akhilesh meeting triggers alliance speculation

Naveen-Akhilesh meeting triggers alliance speculation

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s meeting with his Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik during his recent visit to the coastal state has triggered speculation about a new political equation.

Patnaik, who heads the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has always stressed on maintaining equal distance with both the Congress and BJP.

However, at the same time, his response to the formation of a third alternative in the national politics has been lukewarm. But that hasn’t made the BJD insiders from ruling out the possibility of forging an alliance with the Samajawadi Party (SP) led by Akhilesh’s father and former Union minister Mulayam Singh Yadav.

SP eyes expansion

“We can not completely remain isolated at the central level for the state’s interest. Therefore, an alliance with ‘like-minded’ parties like the SP can not be ruled out”, said a senior BJD leader.

Similarly, during his informal interaction with newspersons here before he left for Lucknow at the end of his two-day trip that concluded on Friday, Akhilesh gave enough indication that the SP wants to expand itself as a major national party.

In that case, the party would need the support of strong regional outfits like the BJD. The SP is already having an unit in Odisha but it has remained an insignificant player. There are instances of the BJD making seat-sharing arrangements with regional outfits from other states during elections in Odisha.

Like during the 2009 Assembly poll, the BJD had left a few seats for the NCP which had helped the latter win four Assembly seats in the state for the first time.

Political observers do not rule out the possibility of Patnaik’s party making a similar understanding with the SP in Odisha though Assembly elections in the state are still a distance away.

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