OST Political Bureau
New Delhi, Feb 9:
Biju Janata Dal (BJD) supremo Naveen Patnaik on Sunday made it clear that he was not “in the race to become the Prime Minister of the country” after the Lok Sabha elections.
“I have no ambition of becoming the Prime Minister. I have the blessings of the people of Odisha, and will like to serve the state,” Patnaik told reporters after inaugurating the Odisha Sadan at Dwarka Sector 16-B here.
Asked if he planned to meet any non-Congress and non-BJP leaders during his sojourn to the national capital, Patnaik said he had no such plans. “I have no such plan to meet any non-Congress and non-BJP leader during this trip,” said the BJD president, who has been consistently pitching for a non-BJP, non-Congress formation at the Centre.
As Patnaik has always maintained that the BJD would remain ‘equi-distant’ from Congress and BJP, speculation was rife in the media that he was harbouring a dream to lead the proposed front if it came to power.
Revenue minister Surya Narayan Patro had lent weight to such speculation when he claimed that senior CPM leader Sitaram Yechury had urged Naveen to take up the leadership of the proposed Third Front.
Earlier, two senior Left leaders – CPI(M)’s Prakash Karat and CPI’s A B Bardhan – had met Patnaik in Bhubaneswar, leading to further speculation on BJD becoming an important player in the proposed front. Both leaders had steadfastly refused to utter a word against the BJD boss during their trips.