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After Pawar call,Naveen-baiter has to back BJD

Politics makes strange bedfellows. Nowhere is it truer than in Orissa where known Naveen Patnaik-baiter Bijoy Mohapatra has been forced to ally with his bête-noire just to stay afloat.....

Politics makes strange bedfellows. Nowhere is it truer than in Orissa where known Naveen Patnaik-baiter Bijoy Mohapatra has been forced to ally with his bête-noire just to stay afloat.

Mohapatra,59,had turned a bitter critic of Naveen after he was thrown out of Biju Janata Dal,the party he founded in 1997,on the eve of 2000 Assembly election. First Naveen withdrew his candidature 15 minutes before nominations for Patkura Assembly constituency were to close and then threw him out of BJD leaving Mohapatra bewildered and beleagured for the next nine years.

Mohapatra then started a fledgling regional outfit named Orissa Gana Parishad (OGP) which merged with the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party in September 2007. For the past nine years,he managed to stay afloat as a trenchant critic of Naveen and his policies.

But after the March 7 divorce of the BJD and the BJP,Mohapatra has had to discard his opposition to Naveen after Pawar rushed to support the BJD for the March 11 trust vote. Mohapatra,though uncomfortable about allying with the BJD,was persuaded by Pawar to support Naveen.

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The NCP has two legislators in the state — Arun Dey from Balasore and Utkal Keshari Parida from Kendrapara. Mohapatra,who contested the 2004 polls from Patkura on an OGP ticket,lost to BJD’s Atanu Sabyasachi. Dey,who has been very critical of Naveen in the Assembly and outside,was conspicuous by his euphoric support to Naveen during Sunday’s show of support in Raj Bhavan. Dey is keen to join BJD for a ticket from Balasore.

“It’s a peculiar situation. Pawar called us to Delhi last month for a possible alliance with the BJD in the event the BJD-BJP alliance breaks up. Our views were taken. In politics,one has to do adjustments,” was all Mohapatra told The Indian Express.

Reliable sources said Mohapatra was keen to ally with the Congress,but the humiliation heaped on him by Congress general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad ended any hopes of the NCP allying with the Congress. Once he doors of the Congress were closed,the only other option left for him was the BJP,but Mohapatra hasn’t quite forgotten how its leaders connived with Naveen in 2000 to throw him out of the BJD. “His political career is in the doldrums. At this point he has to say afloat,” sources said,adding that Mohapatra is likely to stand as NCP candidate from Kendrapara with BJD support.

First published on: 10-03-2009 at 11:28:11 pm
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