Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, May 15:
Even though the Central leadership is not averse to its former ally BJD, which is already indicating its possible return to the NDA fold, BJP leaders in Odisha do not seem to favour any truck with the regional party which they see as their political adversary in the state.
Although political observers call it wishful thinking, BJP leaders here believe they will be able to relegate the Congress to the third spot and play the principal opposition in Odisha after poll results are announced.
The state BJP president KV Singhdeo has been quite blunt and ruled out the possibility of any alliance with the BJD.
“There will be no alliance or any political understanding with BJD. However, we can consider the proposal (of BJD ) provided Naveen Patnaik is not in the picture. The party would not initiate any talk with the BJD till the time Patnaik leads it,” Singhdeo said.
Senior BJP leader Suresh Pujari also ruled out any kind of political understanding with the regional party, which has termed their party ‘communal’ all the time.
“It was Naveen Patnaik, who has consistently called us communal and a political untouchable. How can he be a part of anything which is led by our party? Irrespective of what our national compulsions demand in the coming days, a state-level alliance between the two parties is impossible,” said Pujari.
After all, state BJP leaders have been at war with the BJD and Patnaik during the election campaign. Singhdeo had even gone to the extent of comparing Naveen with Madhu Koda and said a cell in the Tihar jail needs to be opened for the chief minister for his direct complicity in the mining scam.
However, some BJP leaders concede that they would have little option than to revise their stance, once the Central leadership decides to take BJD’s support to form the next government at the Centre.
“Come May 16, the air will be cleared. Whether BJD would join NDA or extend support from outside would largely depend on the numbers NDA is able to muster. Now, both the parties have to adopt a wait and watch policy. In case NDA does not touch the magic number, everything is possible,” said a senior BJP leader.
While BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi has repeatedly said every single MP is important, the national leaders of the party say all parties, including regional players such as the BJD, are welcome to join the NDA.
Although the BJD supremo has refused to spell out his stand in clear terms, he has allowed his senior party colleagues to go public about extending possible issue based support to NDA and that is signal enough of the party’s future course of action, subject of course to the condition that the BJP emerges a clear winner on May 16.