Naveen keeps Advani guessing,says still in NDA

Keeping its options open in national politics despite severing ties with the BJP at the state level,the BJD on Monday said that it is still a part of the NDA. "We are still part of the

Written by Agencies | Bhubaneswar | Published:March 9, 2009 3:50 pm

Keeping its options open in national politics despite severing ties with the BJP at the state level,the BJD on Monday said that it is still a part of the NDA.

“We are still part of the NDA. Therefore,it will be premature to say anything now on the role of the BJD in national politics,” BJD’s secretary general Damodar Rout said,adding things would be clear once the polls were over.

BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik has also maintained complete silence about joining the third front although CPI(M) politburo member Sitaram Yechury had rushed to Orissa to formally invite Patnaik to join the anti-Advani,anti-Congress platform.

“We will take a decision in this regard after the elections,” Patnaik told reporters after meeting Yechury though BJD agreed to strike a pre-poll alliance with the Left parties.

The Left parties,which had two MLAs (one of CPI and the other of CPI(M)) in the Orissa house of 147 MLAs,were encouraged over the breaking of alliance between the BJD and the BJP but Patnaik has kept them guessing on which way BJD will lean in national politics post elections. The BJD’s stand about not leaving the NDA notwithstanding,BJP’s youth wing leader and MP,Dharmendra Pradhan,said that BJD cannot be considered to be a member of the NDA after it severed ties with the BJP in Orissa.

“The BJD is misleading all by saying that it is part of NDA. How can a party become member of the NDA while forging pre-poll alliance with the Left parties and the NCP?” Pradhan,who attended the core committee meeting of BJP in Delhi on Sunday,wondered.

According to Pradhan and some other leaders in the state BJP,the relationship with the BJD was over for all time to come as Naveen Patnaik “betrayed” the decade-old trust.

Another senior leader,who wished not to be named,said,”Having trust on Patnaik to help Advani become Prime Minister is a myth. The party would commit another mistake if it keeps faith on the BJD.”

Patnaik on his part had explained yesterday that his party broke the alliance with the BJP as it demanded seats where it could never win.

“Winning chance of the party and its candidate was the important criteria in the seat-sharing discussion. But the BJP wanted to maintain staus quo on the seat-sharing formula notwithsthstanding the winning factor,” Patnaik said. By giving seats to BJP where it was sure to lose was as good as giving a “walk over” to the Congress,Rout said.

While the BJD had been preparing for the floor test on Wednesday,its former ally BJP had already announced it would go alone in the coming elections by fielding candidates in all the 21 Lok Sabha and 147 Assemgly seats.

On Monday,the state’s Governor,M C Bhandare,had asked Naveen Patnaik to prove his majority on the floor of the Assembly on March 11 after the BJD snapped ties with the BJP.

Patnaik is hopeful of winning the trust vote claiming support of 76 MLAs in a House of 147 MLAs,two more than the required majority. The CPI-M,CPI,NCP and the JMM,who together have eight MLAs,have decided to support Patnaik.

In the meantime,the CPI-M sounded confident of formation of a Third Front after it entered into a pre-poll alliance with the BJD in Orissa.

JD(S) leader and former premier H D Deve Gowda also wooed Naveen Patnaik to join the planned Third Front to provide a secular,non-Congress and non-BJP national alternative.

The Congress on the other hand refused to attach much importance to the BJD-BJP ties falling apart,saying it would fight the coming polls on its own strength.

“We don’t bother about what happened in BJD and BJP. We are preparing to strengthen our organisation to face the lections to the Lok Sabha and state Assembly,” state Congress president K P Singhdeo said on Sunday.

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