Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Tuesday asserted the BJD maintains equal distance from the BJP and the Congress, a day after his Cabinet colleague Damodar Rout said the party had no hesitation in joining hands with the Congress for the next Assembly polls. The chief minister’s remarks prompted Rout, who is also the BJD vice-president, to say that his suggestion was his “personal opinion”.
BJD chief Patnaik Tuesday tweeted, “BJD is equidistant from the Congress and the BJP. With blessings of our people, we will continue our fight for the rights of Odisha.” The next Assembly elections in the state is due in 2019. Rout had yesterday said the party had no hesitation in forging ties with the Congress for the Assembly polls. He, however, had said the party president would take the final decision.
As Patnaik made the party’s stand clear on the issue, Rout said the suggestion of possible tie-up with the Congress was his personal opinion. The BJD is in a strong position in the state and does not need an alliance with any party to win the polls, Rout said, adding his idea of going with the Congress was meant to defeat “communal forces”.
Senior BJD leader and minister S N Patro also said there is no such plan of forging an alliance with the Congress and Rout’s comment is his ‘personal view’. Meanwhile, senior Congress leader Niranjan Patnaik said, “It is Congress alone which can defeat BJP.”