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Why it’s still ‘early days’ for Naveen to decide on joining Third Front


Reported by Chinmaya Dehury

(With inputs from Delhi Bureau)

Bhubaneswar, May 4:

While the whole country is abuzz with speculations over the formation of a possible Third Front after Congress party indicated its intent to extend outside support to it, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today kept everyone guessing about his gameplan vis a vis the Front by repeating the same old line : “it’s too early days to talk about a Third Front.”

“As you know, it’s early days. Let’s see what happens in future,” said Patnaik to media persons after returning from a 12-day trip from New Delhi.

Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister, Odisha
Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister, Odisha

He also denied meeting any national leader during his stay at the national capital.

Sources, however, said the chief minister was in touch with several leaders and senior journalists during his stay and discussed about the prospects of the party in Odisha as well as its possible role post May 16 with them.

Naveen has so far kept the two national parties BJP and Congress guessing about his party’s stand in game of numbers during the formation of the next government at the Centre. Since no party is likely to get absolute majority in the Lok Sabha, both the national parties see Naveen Patnaik as a potential ally after the elections.

BJP national president Rajnath Singh has already appealed to the old allies to return to the NDA fold and help build a decisive government at the Centre.

The BJD’s reticence to side with this or that formation has been read by political observers as one which is more driven by fear than confidence. They point out that Naveen Patnaik is waiting to see which party or combination emerges the strongest post-results to make a final choice.

The observers say BJD can ill-afford to stay non-aligned this time because it is being haunted and cornered by humungous scams like the coal scam, mining scam and chit fund scam.

While the coal scam is being investigated by CBI, the Supreme Court is likely to order a CBI probe into the chit fund scam. There is every possibility that the inquiry of the huge Rs 60,000 croremining scam in Odisha will also be handed over to the CBI.

” It’s the CBI phobia that has forced Naveen Patnaik to keep mum over who he is likely to support after May 16. He has little option, therefore, to align with just any party or combination that appears to be the winner in the race for government formation in Delhi and will be in a position to offer it the much needed ‘protection’,” said a Delhi-based political observer.