Patnaik once again proved a "trusted friend" of the BJP

Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik. PTI file photo

His party, the Biju Janata Dal(BJD), is not a member of the BJP led ruling National Democratic Alliance(NDA) at the Centre. But the five time Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik once again proved himself a “trusted friend” of the saffron party by supporting the Kashmir bills in the Rajya Sabha on Monday including the scraping of article 370 of the constitution. The Patnaik led regional outfit turned more reliable for the BJP than even the Janata Dal(U) which opposed the bills despite being part of the NDA.

“Yes, we are a trusted friend of the BJP. We will be fooling ourselves in front of the public if we claim that we are not a friend of the saffron party after the recent developments”, conceded a senior BJD leader during a private conversation.

It was important for the BJP to get the support of the parties like BJD in Rajya Sabha as it had no majority in the Upper House to pass the important Kashmir bills.

The passionate and firebrand manner in which some of the BJD member made their speeches in the Upper House during the Kashmir debate which includes an emotional appeal to home minister Amit Shah to try to bring back the POK(Pakistan occupied Kashmir) and merged it with Jammu and Kashmir clearly confirmed the fact that they had the full backing of their party high command(read Patnaik).

In fact, if reliable BJD sources are to be believed, a clear cut instruction had already been sent by the party leadership in Bhubaneswar to its Rajya Sabha members in New Delhi to go “all out” to support the crucial Kashmir bills during the debate as well as passing stage.

This, however, is not for the first time the Odisha based ruling regional outfit supported a bill tabled by the BJP led NDA government in Parliament. It has been throwing its lot behind the saffron party both inside the Parliament and outside on several issues since the Narendra Modi dispensation began its second innings after the April-May Lok Sabha elections.


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