Odisha Sun Times Political Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Feb 27:
Odisha Jan Morcha (OJM) chief Pyarimohan Mohapatra today accused chief minister Naveen Patnaik of playing the villain and sabotaging the formation of an anti-BJD front in the state. Mohapatra’s harsh comments came a day after the BJP state president KV Singhdeo ruled out the possibility of his party entering into any pre-poll alliance in the state.
Talking to reporters here today, Mohapatra who had been Naveen’s former mentor and close confidante for years, did not mince words when he said the chief minister was ‘scared’ of a united opposition front in the state and that he was using his ‘friends’ in the BJP to ensure the formation does not take shape.
Mohapatra did not appear to have given up on the idea of a united opposition front with the help of BJP. However, he said he would look for an alternative combination if the truck with the BJP failed to fructify.
Indicating the possibility of OJM initiating alliance talks with the Congress , Mohapatra said, he will continue to pursue the idea of an anti-BJD front in the state with the help of a national party and other regional parties.
Health minister and party vice-president Dr Damodar Rout said his party had nothing to do with the stand taken by the state unit of the BJP on the alliance issue.
“ Everyone in Odisha know Pyarimohan Mohapatra’s character and that is the reason why BJP is keeping him at arm’s length,” Dr Rout said.
Senior BJP leader Biswa Bhushan Harichandan dismissed Mohapatra’s allegations and said “ There is no one in our party who could be working for Naveen. We have taken a conscious stand not to form any alliance before the polls.”
Mohapatra has been making efforts over the last couple of months to forge an anti-Naveen alliance in the state with the help of BJP and other regional parties like Ama Odisha Party and Utkal Bharat and has had several rounds of talks with the central leaders of the saffron party in Delhi.
Senior state BJP leaders apparently hold a grudge against Pyarimohan for having plotted the party’s split with BJD before the 2009 general elections . However, several leaders and front-ranking workers of the party smell a fish.
According to sources, the BJP ‘Rajya Prabhari’ Chandan Mitra who was here to discuss the possibility of taking forward the idea of a pre-poll alliance with the regional parties in the state, was a little surprised over the stiff opposition to the idea by certain core members of the state unit.
The sources said, many leaders and workers in the party find the resistance to the idea of a joint front against the ruling Biju Janata Dal illogical because even if there is a Modi wave, the BJP in Odisha does not have the support base, stature or position to win more than 30 assembly seats as of now. They feel acting big under such circumstances, would be self-defeating and help Naveen ride back to power for the fourth time in a row.
Sources in the BJP say, the idea of a pre-poll alliance has not been buried for good and that everything would depend on the stance that the central leaders in Delhi take in the matter.