The regional party to
shun ‘equi-distance’ policy
and support the
Front that will
look after Odisha’s
Bhubaneswar: Biju Janata Dal (BJD) vice-president and state minister Surya Narayan Patro Friday said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is most eligible to be the Prime Minister of the country.
“The people of India and Odisha want Naveen Patnaik to be the Prime Minister of India. In the past, there was a talk in favour of (former Chief Minister) Biju Patnaik to be the Prime Minister. It would be in Odisha’s interest if Naveen becomes the next Prime Minister,” Patro told media persons here.
The statement came just six days before the announcement of the Lok Sabha poll results May 23. With regional parties coming together to play a crucial role in the next government formation, the BJD hopes to gain if no national party gets a majority.
The BJD vice-president, however, said that Naveen Patnaik should not be the Prime Minister with the support of the Congress.
The grand old party’s history says it has pulled out support prematurely after making Prime Ministers in the past, he added.
BJD shun ‘eqi-distance’ policy
e also said BJD will no longer adopt the equi-distance policy and it will extend support to whoever works for state’s interest. “We will not adopt the equal distance (from BJP and Congress) policy any more. The BJD will support any front which supports Odisha,” Patro said.
The BJD, which has been demanding special category status for Odisha, had a decade long alliance with the BJP, had severed ties with the saffron party ahead of the 2009 elections over a dispute on seat sharing. A BJD-BJP coalition government existed in Odisha from 2000 to 2009.
After severing ties with BJP, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had dubbed the saffron party as “communal” and the Congress as “corrupt”. “Even Patnaik in the midst of election campaign this time, also continued his impression on BJP and also called it as “communal.”
Notably, Naveen had earlier stated that his party would play a key role in the formation of next government at the Centre as no national party would get the majority in the Lok Sabha elections.
Both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress are trying to form the government with the support of regional parties. Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as the BJP president Amit Shah had praised Naveen for rescue and relief operations in cyclone Fani affected areas in the state. On his part, Naveen too had praised the Prime Minister and Union Minister for Petroleum, Dharmendra Pradhan, for their cooperation and support in relief operations in the Fani-hit areas of the state.
This has given rise to speculations that the BJD is likely to join hands with the NDA in forming the next government at the Centre in case the BJP-led alliance fails to get a clear majority at the hustings.
Meanwhile, the UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi has sent letters to non-NDA parties including BJD for a meeting May 23, the day results of the Lok Sabha elections are to be announced.