Chief Minister of Odisha, Naveen Patnaik, has declared that the Biju Janata Dal will not be a part of the Mahagathbandhan for the General Elections later this year. He said that the BJD will “continue with our policy of equidistance” from the two national parties.
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“I want to clarify that as far as the Mahagathbandhan is concerned, the Biju Janata Dal is not a part of it,” Patnaik told reporters on Wednesday in Bhubaneswar. “We will continue with our policy of equidistance from the BJP and the Congress,” he said.
Patnaik’s declaration, although along expected lines, will crush the Congress party’s ambitions in Odisha. In Uttar Pradesh, it will have to sacrifice major ground if the Mahagathbandhan is to materialize as the Samajwadi Party and BSP have already declared an alliance in the state. In Madhya Pradesh as well, the BSP had announced that it will contest all the seats.
KC Rao, Chief Minister of Telangana, had embarked on countrywide visits to the party heads of regional forces in order to cobble up a Third Front or The Federal Front, which will be free of both BJP and Congress. In Karnataka too, Deve Gowda’s JD(S) has indicated that it is preparing to go to polls without Congress.
Under such circumstances, the Congress party will be very concerned with the possibilities of its proposed Mahagathbandhan materializing ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
It is notable here that Naveen Patnaik’s BJD has been ruling in Odisha for almost twenty years now. In 2014 general elections, BJD had swept 20 of the 21 Lok Sabha constituencies in Odisha.