Orissa Governor MC Bhandare on Sunday directed Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to prove the majority of his government at a special Assembly session on Wednesday.
This comes after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) parted ways with the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) late on Saturday. In the 147-member Orissa assembly, the BJD requires the support of 74 MLAs to stay in power.
The BJD has 61 MLAs and has already won the backing of four MLAs from Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), two Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLAs, and one each from the Communist Party of India (CPI) and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI (M)). Seven Independent legislators and an ex-BJP MLA have also pledged their support to Patnaik, who is confident of surviving the floor test. The Orissa CM and senior BJD leaders met the Governor at the Raj Bhavan in Bhubaneswar with his 16 new allies in tow. “I assure all of you that there are more than 74 MLAs with us,” Patnaik said.
As soon as the BJP announced their withdrawal of support, the BJD MLAs congregated at a posh city hotel on Sunday, where the new allies and the Left joined them. Many of the new MLAs who declared their support to the government were one-time bitter critics of Patnaik. But on Sunday, the past acrimony was swept under the carpet as a new bonhomie was clearly visible in their personal interactions.
CPI’s N Narayan Reddy, who has come over to support the BJD, said, “At this juncture, our party has decided to support the government. However, I don’t know what will happen after the elections”.