No BJP-BJD alliance? BJP top brass calls Odisha unit leaders to Delhi for talks

The BJP dismissed alliance talks, stating they will contest all 147 Assembly seats

PTI01_12_2023_000313A BJD president and Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik

The alliance talks between the BJP and BJD in Odisha seem to have failed with BJP state president Manmohan Samal confirming that the party would face elections alone in the state. He denied there were any alliance talks with the BJD. 

Following the development, the BJP central leadership has called its state unit leaders and those in charge of elections in Odisha to Delhi for a discussion. The BJP Central Election Committee meeting for states, including Odisha, is also being held on Monday. Odisha has been conducting simultaneous polls for Lok Sabha and Assembly since 2004.

Besides Samal, general secretary (organisation) Manas Mohanty, Odisha BJP election in-charge Vijaypal Singh Tomar and co-incharge Lata Usendi flew to New Delhi. Samal told reporters said the meeting will discuss seat allotment. "The discussion will cover all 147 assembly seats and 21 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state," Samal said. He, however, refused to add anything to the possible alliance.

There were hints that the alliance talks hit a roadblock after Usendi reiterated on Sunday that the BJP will contest in all 147 assembly seats in the upcoming elections. "I am saying it over and over again that the BJP is preparing for all 147 assembly seats," Usendi said, dismissing alliance talks. She, however, acknowledged meetings were taking place. "Meetings are taking place because how can we work without any meetings," she said.

The hints of talks going sour were already visible after BJD president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik issued a one-line statement on Saturday, stating that "rumours" and "lies" were worst aspects of politics. 

Talks over the possible alliance between the two parties gained strength after Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Odisha on March 5 and praised Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. Later, both the BJD and BJP held separate meetings of their leaders to discuss the matter. The BJD, after its meeting, issued a statement saying the regional party would do "everything" for its larger interest.

BJD leader and MLA Nrushingha Sahu on Saturday said there was a discussion on alliance and the party would abide by the decision of Patnaik. Though BJD leader and Patnaik's close aide VK Pandian and party's organisational secretary Pranab Prakash Das visited Delhi to hold discussions with BJP top brass, they remained silent, adding to the suspense over the alliance.


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