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Odisha: As Hot and Cold on BJD-BJP Alliance Continues, Cadre of Both Parties in Confusion

Pandian’s remark that Modi and Naveen do not require any help from each other for 2024, but ‘alliance’ remains above “realms of politics”, is being seen as a kind of tacit understanding.
Pandian’s remark that Modi and Naveen do not require any help from each other for 2024, but ‘alliance’ remains above “realms of politics”, is being seen as a kind of tacit understanding.

Image Courtesy: Flickr

In a heated election atmosphere, when alliances are being stitched and snapped in the bid to attain power, matching words and deeds in a tough task. That’s what’s happening in Odisha right now when it comes to alliance talks between Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The state is set for simultaneous polls for the Assembly and Lok Sabha.

“Narendra Damodar Das Modi does not require any alliance to come to power for the third time. BJP has no need for support from the BJD” said V K Pandian, a close aide of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and now number two in the party hierarchy. He was talking to a national television channel in Delhi. Pandian further said that: “Similarly for Naveen Patnaik, to come to power for the sixth time, there is no need of any alliance.”

Pandian, a former bureaucrat who recently resigned and joined politics, further said the talks doing the rounds over an alliance are “above the realms of politics”, adding that “both the top leaders have tremendous mutual respect for each other and are looking ahead for the greater interest of India”.

Yet, Pandian has not entirely dismissed the likelihood of an alliance.

Similarly, earlier, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, during an interview with a national TV channel, did not totally side-step a question on an alliance in Odisha, saying that “it is an issue that the Prime Minister and BJP national president J P Nadda would take the final call on.”

Meanwhile, Patnaik convened a marathon meeting on Tuesday last and had a threadbare discussion with the BJD leaders and apprised them on the strategies for the coming Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in Odisha.

As per reports, BJD, in a major step forward, has signalled that it was soon going to declare its candidate, possibly ex-Mumbai top cop Arup Patnaik, for the Puri parliamentary constituency, where BJP also has already indicated its national spokesperson, Sambit Patra, could be the candidate.

Interestingly, both Patnaik and Patra faced defeat from Bhubaneswar and Puri, respectively, in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

However, political observers feel that BJD has, perhaps, deliberately decided to field Arup Patnaik as the latter has a very bleak prospect of winning against Patra who has been cultivating the Puri Lok Sabha constituency for long even after losing in 2019. That may be an arrangement under the tacit understanding between BJD and BJP.

Meanwhile, Naveen Patnaik has instructed some BJD leaders to go back to their respective areas as a warming up exercise for the coming polls.

Going by what Pandian has said in Delhi and his leader Naveen Patnaik asking BJD leaders to tighten their belts, it is more or less apparent that there may not be any formal announcement regarding an alliance, but the process of seat allocation for Assembly and Lok Sabha would go on with the understanding that it should be conducive for both parties.  

Nevertheless, the jumble over a likely realignment has left the party cadres in both BJD and BJP in absolute confusion.   

The writer is an independent journalist based in Odisha. The views are personal.

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