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Naveen Patnaik lets down Opposition, declaring no alliance for Lok Sabha polls

Naveen Patnaik lets down Opposition, declaring no alliance for Lok Sabha polls

New Delhi: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday made it clear that his party Biju Janata Dal (BJD) will not align with opposition parties in the Lok Sabha polls, frustrating opposition parties’ efforts for unity.

Naveen Patnaik after a meeting with Prime Minister Modi on Thursday evening told reporters that it was a ‘courtesy call’, adding that BJD would opt for ‘equidistant’ stand in polls, NDTV reported.

The 76-year-old veteran politician asserted his stand two days after his meeting with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who is working hard to form an opposition front against the BJP in 2024 national polls.

Patnaik denied having discussed politics with Nitish Kumar during their meeting on Tuesday.

‘Ours is a known friendship, and we were colleagues many years ago. No discussion was held on any alliances today,’ he was quoted as saying.

As always, Naveen Patnaik appears to be sitting on the fence offering support to neither the Congress nor the BJP, in effect frustrating Nitish Kumar’s efforts.

Patnaik said that PM Modi promised help when he had brought up the state’s demand for shifting international airport from Bhubaneswar to Puri.

Patnaik denied reports of holding any planned meetings with leaders of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)'s Arvind Kejriwal and Bhagwant Mann, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhara Rao, and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin.

However, Patnaik had earlier met with Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, giving rise to speculations that he was sending a strong message to the BJP.

Since exiting BJP’s NDA alliance in 2008, Patnaik’s BJD has pursued what it claims ‘equidistance’ without joining neither camps.

However, it is said that his party is known to have stayed away from ‘opposition meetings’, but will, according to NDTV, ‘bail out’ Central government when it is in need of numbers.

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TAGS:PM ModiLok Sabha pollsNaveen Patnaik
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