BJD and BJP seem to be back in bonhomie mood

BJD and BJP seem to be back in bonhomie mood

 Naveen Patnaik. PTI file photo

After a lull, the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in Odisha and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seem to be back in mood of bonhomie once again.

The Naveen Patnaik-led regional outfit’s decision to side with the BJP and help the central government in passing the controversial RTI (Amendment) Bill in the Rajya Sabha has led many to believe that the relationship developed by the leadership of both parties after the last general elections has remained intact.

The BJD and BJP had temporarily turned into vehement critics right before the election Patkura Assembly seat in the state, which the BJD won. 

The way the BJD has handled the RTI bill issue has also provided critics of the party a stick to beat it with. Initially, the BJD had opposed the amended Bill.

A number of BJD MPs in both houses of Parliament, including veteran party leader Bhatruhari Mahtab, had reportedly opposed the BJP-led NDA government’s decision to tamper with the important RTI Act. However, the party ultimately supported the amendment.

If sources in the BJD are to be believed, it was a telephonic conversation between Patnaik and Prime Minister Narendra Modi that altered the regional outfit’s stand vis-à-vis the RTI Bill. 

The development, nevertheless, has provided an opportunity to the Opposition Congress to lambast Patnaik and push him to a corner. “He (Patnaik) listens and does what the PM asks him to do. His father, the late Biju Patnaik, would not have done this”, said Congress legislature party leader in the state Assembly, Narasingha Mishra.

Mishra, a former undivided Janata Dal leader, was the state law minister when the senior Patnaik was the chief minister between 1990 and 1995.