PM Modi to visit Odisha on March 5 amid speculations of alliance with BJD - Hindustan Times
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PM Modi to visit Odisha on March 5 amid speculations of alliance with BJD

ByDebabrata Mohanty
Mar 01, 2024 08:29 AM IST

There have been enough indications of an alliance between both parties after they broke up just before the 2009 Lok Sabha polls

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Odisha on March 5 amid rising speculations of alliance between the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ahead of the simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and the state Assembly in April.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik. (PTI File Photo)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik. (PTI File Photo)

BJP’s Odisha co-in-charge Lata Usendi on Thursday said Modi is likely to address a public meeting in Jajpur’s Chandikhol and lay the foundation stone of several developmental projects. After arriving in Bhubaneswar, the PM will begin his trip by garlanding the statue of Biju Patnaik.

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Incidentally, the PM’s visit coincides with the 108th birth anniversary of Biju Patnaik, former chief minister of Odisha who was famous for his brave acts such as flying soldiers of the Sikh regiment to counter the Pakistan-backed invasion of Jammu and Kashmir in 1947 or flying out former Indonesian prime minister Sutan Sjahrir and vice president Mohammad Hatta who were under house arrest in Jakarta by the Dutch and British forces in July 1947. An entrepreneur who set up Kalinga Tubes, Kalinga Iron Works, Kalinga Tiles, Kalinga Refractory and even Kalinga Airlines, Biju Patnaik helped modernise Odisha during the brief period that he served as CM in 1961 and 1990.

Meanwhile, sources in the BJD and BJP said an alliance can’t be ruled out. “Negotiations are on at the highest level. It would not be wise to comment on its contours,” said a senior BJP leader.

In the 2019 general elections, the BJP won 8 of the 21 Lok Sabha seats while the BJD won 12. With several opinion polls projecting a higher number of Lok Sabha seats for the BJP, party sources said an alliance with the regional party would only add to the NDA’s number in both the Houses of the Parliament, enabling passing of crucial legislations. BJD sources said the alliance would be in the party’s interests considering the advancing age of the chief minister who may find it difficult to go around the state for campaigning.

There have been enough indications of an alliance between both parties after they broke up just before the 2009 Lok Sabha polls after Naveen Patnaik accused the BJP instigating the riots in Kandhamal district following the murder of VHP leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati. However, over the last 2-3 years, the two parties have been seen together on several occasions.

Early this month, PM Modi during his visit to Sambalpur in Odisha described Patnaik as his friend, and the BJD too reciprocated by supporting the Rajya Sabha candidature of Union railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw from the state.

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