Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, May 24:
What will be the Odisha ruling party BJD’s position with regard to the Modi-led NDA government at the Centre ?
As anticipated, the BJD supremo and chief minister Naveen Patnaik refused to say a word on this important political question while briefing the media after the conclusion of the parliamentary party meeting held at his residence this morning.
Reliable sources said during the meeting, the MPs were told the party can not afford to rub the powerful Modi government at the Centre the wrong way and that it should instead take a ‘positive’ stance that will generate goodwill, if not bonhomie with the NDA.
However, the party supremo did not risk spelling this out himself and assigned the task of presenting the deliberate ambiguous political stance to the two newly appointed spokespersons of the party in Delhi – Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda and Kalikesh Singhdeo.
Talking to the media on the party’s stand vis-a-vis the NDA government at the Centre, Jay Panda said, “The party will take a positive approach towards the Centre and will work for the best interest of the state. However, if any decision of the Centre goes against our interests, the party will oppose”.
Kalikesh Singhdeo, on his part, was closer to ambiguity than clarity when he chose to limit himself to the typical Naveen phraseology while spelling out the party’s stand in Delhi.
“We will be ‘equidistant’ from both the BJP and the Congress in Delhi. The party will work independently for the state’s interest. However, we ‘may’ extend issue-based support to the Centre, if it is in the interest of the state.”
Observers believe, Naveen Patnaik shied away from articulating his party’s stand before the media to avoid the ’embarrassment’ of going soft on his former ally that he dubbed as communal and reprehensible.
It would be interesting to watch how early and in what manner the party puts to practice its ‘positive approach towards the Centre’, and also whether Naveen Patnaik would abjure his old habit of blaming the Centre for just everything.