Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, April 12:
In a clear indication of new equations in the making ahead of the formation of the next government at the Centre, vice president of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) Peddi Reddy today made a strong pitch for Odisha Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) supremo Naveen Patnaik as a ‘national leader’.
“Naveen Patnaik is a strong leader, who has been giving good governance in the state for the last 14 years. I appeal to the people to elect the candidates of BJD,” said Reddy at a press conference here.
Reddy said Patnaik was a secular leader who can emerge as a ‘national leader’ after the elections.
He, however, hastened to add that it was his personal opinion and not that of the party.
Asked how he, being an ally of NDA, could support the BJD, Reddy said that the party was not contesting here and the alliance was limited for Andhra Pradesh. “It’s my personal opinion. I am not speaking on behalf of my party. Besides, my party is not contesting here in Odisha,” said the TDP leader.
Dr KA Paul, president of the Global Peace Initiative, USA, who was present at the press conference, also appealed to the people to vote for the BJD in large numbers so as to make him the ‘Prime Minister of India’.
Maintaining that neither the NDA nor the UPA would come to power this time, Dr Paul said Naveen Patnaik will be a serious contender for the Prime Minister’s post for his clean and secular image and appealed to other leaders of the Third Front to make him Prime Minister of India.
Both the leaders had met the chief minister in morning today at his residence and discussed on the political scenario of the state as well as the country.
The strong endorsement by a senior leader of an NDA ally has led to speculation that a new formation of regional parties is in the making.
It could also be a move by the BJP to woo the BJD through an ally, observers say.