Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Mar 3:
In an effort to prevent division of votes among the plethora of parties and put up a united fight against the BJD and the Congress, the BJP on Monday held talks with some of the smaller parties.
As part of the exercise, senior BJP leaders Arun Jiatley and Chandan Mitra had talks with Ama Odisha party founder Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, Utkal Bharat president Kharavela Swain and Samata Kranti party leader and former Union minister Braja Kishore Ttripathy.
While there was no word from Patnaik on what transpired at the one-on-one meeting with the two BJP central leaders, Tripathy said his party was keen to have an alliance with the BJP.
“We are keen on an alliance with the BJP. But everything depends on the seat sharing arrangement,” Tripathy said after the meeting.
Kharavela Swain, who was the first to meet the two BJP leaders, said; “They have given us a proposal to work under the umbrella of NDA. We are in the process of discussion. Let’s see what happens.”
Earlier, Jaitley and Mitra held one to one discussions with senior state leaders of the party, including state unit president KV Singhdeo, former minister Biswabhusan Harichandan and former Union minister Jual Oram.
According to sources in the BJP, the state leaders have come round to accepting the reality of an alliance with some of the smaller parties after initially resisting the move by the central leadership.
“We are open to discussion with other parties in the interest of ther party to reach our goal. We had the first round of talks with the central leaders today. After negotiation with other parties, we will sit once again with Arun Singh to come to a conclusion,” state BJP spokesperson Suresh Pujari told media persons.
There is, however, no definite indication whether there would be any talks with Odisha Jana Morcha (OJM) leader Pyari Mohan Mohapatra. One source averred that there could be a discussion with the estranged BJD leader late tonight.
The majority opinion in the state unit, however, is against having any truck with OJM.