Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Feb 25:
After day-long parleys with leaders of the Odisha unit about having an alliance or seat sharing arrangements with some smaller parties, BJP in-charge for the state Chandan Mitra had nothing to show for it.
“No decision has been taken yet on having an alliance with other parties. We just had a preliminary round of discussion on the matter today. We will let you know when something concrete emerges,” Mitra said after wrapping up the talks.
While a powerful section in the state unit, buoyed by the findings of recent opinion polls that suggest that support for the party is steadily growing, favours going it alone while the central leadership of the BJP is open to the idea of having an alliance with smaller parties in an attempt to consolidate the anti-BJD vote, party sources said.
The parties with the BJP is in talks for alliance include the Odisha Jana Morcha (OJM) led by former BJD strongman Pyari Mohan Mohapatra, Ama Odisha Party headed by Sambad Editor Soumya Ranjan Patnaik and Utkal Bharat headed by former BJP leader Kharavela Swain.
Patnaik met Mitra today, but said the talks were of a ‘general nature’ and nothing concrete had emerged out of it.
“There is no harm in discussion. We have conveyed our views, let them (BJP) decide,” he said after the meeting.
While state unit leaders have no problems with others but they are strongly against any truck with Mohaptra, who they believe was the man behind the breaking up of the party’s alliance with the BJD on the eve of the 2009 elections.
“We have still not forgotten the bitter experience we had with coalition politics in Odisha. But at the same time, we are exploring all possibilities to increase our tally, including having an alliance with like minded parties. The process could take some time,” said Suresh Pujari, who took part in the core committee meeting earlier in the day.
BJD state unit vice president Ashok Sahu also expressed his reservations about tying up with Mohapatra saying; “OJM was formed after Mohapatra’s feud with Naveen Patnaik. So it is to be seen whether the party fits into the ideology and motto of BJP or not.”
On his part, Mohapatra has made no secret of his desire to enter into a seat sharing arrangement with the BJP.