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BJD-BJP: Enemies in Odisha, friends at Centre

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Mar 22:

The BJP will oppose Naveen Patnaik in Odisha while the two parties will remain comrades in arms at the Centre, one extending the other a helping hand at times of need. This is going to be the future shape of relations between the BJP and the BJD if what Union Minister for Petroleum &Gas Dharmendra Pradhan said here yesterday is anything to go by.

naveen with dharmendra

Though Pradhan did not reveal his party’s future relations with the BJD in clear terms, he did give enough hints that the BJD will remain on the side of the Modi government.

“The BJD did nothing wrong by voting in favour of the Mines Bill since auction of mines will result in more revenue for the states. We cleared all apprehensions that the state government had on the Bill. Therefore, they supported us,” Pradhan said.

Though Pradhan did not mention which apprehension of BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik was cleared by the Modi government that led to the BJD’s stand undergoing a complete ‘U’ turn between the tabling of the Bill in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha, he said the Centre will be ‘two steps ahead’ in the matter of extending assistance for the development of the state.

The Union Minister’s statement suggests that the Centre will provide assistance even before the state asks for it, indicating a sudden wraming up towards the state on part of the Centre.

The change in the venue for the review meeting on the preparations for the Nabakalebara Yatra by Union minister Pradhan and his colleague Minister for Tourism and Culture Mahesh Sharma was another pointer to the new found bonhomie between the two erstwhile allies. Originally scheduled to be held at the Mayfair Hotel, the venuw for the meeting was changed at the last-minute at the state government’s insistence.

Reliable sources revealed that the BJD supremo had invited the Union minister hailing from Odisha over phone and had requested to hold the meeting at the state secretariat. The Central minister could not say no to the proposal in view of the newly forged relationship between the two parties, the source said.

Briefing the media on completion of the review meeting, Pradhan had said that the BJP and the BJD were two different systems, but will be working together for the development of the state.

“Let BJD be the big brother here and let it take all the credit. We have nothing to say. But the Central government will extend all help,” said Pradhan.

Pradhan also gave tips to the Odisha government on how it can extract more assistance from the Centre. The moment the Odisha government makes proposals under various schemes, the  Centre will grant assistance, he added.

The Union Petroleum Minister suggested that the state government should now refrain from accusing the Centre of negligence.

While the State’s Tourism Minister Ashok Panda was listening ardently to Pradhan’s words, officers were seen noting down what he said.

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