BJD leader on winning Odisha polls: ‘If BJP declares CM face…’ | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

BJD leader on winning Odisha polls: ‘If BJP declares CM face…’

May 03, 2024 04:55 AM IST

Odisha will go for simultaneous Lok Sabha & assembly polls. The polls will be held in in the state in four phases on May 13, May 20, May 25 and June 1.

BJD leader VK Pandian, who is a close aide of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, has expressed confidence that his party will sweep the assembly polls in the state and get more seats compared to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

BJD leader V Karthikeyan Pandian (PTI)
BJD leader V Karthikeyan Pandian (PTI)

In an exclusive interview with ANI, Pandian targeted the BJP and said if the party declares its CM candidate in the state against Naveen Patnaik, the BJD's victory will be much larger and the opposition party will not cross single digits.

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"I will tell you two scenarios...BJD, under Naveen Babu, is going to sweep the assembly elections and we will get more seats in Lok Sabha elections as well. In case the BJP comes out with a CM face...the victory will be much larger. They will not cross single digit (in the number of MLAs)," he said.

He was asked if a historic sixth term can be expected for Naveen Patnaik as Chief Minister in the assembly polls.

ALSO READ | BJD’s Naveen Patnaik files nomination from two Odisha assembly seats

Odisha will go for simultaneous Lok Sabha and assembly polls. Lok Sabha and assembly polls in the state will be held in four phases on May 13, May 20, May 25 and June 1. Naveen Patnaik is seeking to steer the party for a sixth straight term in office in the assembly polls. The votes will be counted on June 4.

During the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections, BJD under the leadership of Naveen Patnaik won 12 of the 21 seats. The Congress won eight seats and Congress got one seat.

The BJD swept the Odisha assembly polls in 2019, winning 112 seats. BJP won 23 seats and Congress nine seats.

Pandian said Congress used to be the main challenger of BJD as an opposition party more than a decade back.

"They (Congress) are in a very sad state of affairs and in many places, BJP is locally fixing with them. There are two Parliamentary constituencies where they are having a fixing - Sambalpur and Bhubaneswar...I am putting it on record, I am saying with all conviction," Pandian said.

Answering a query about Rahul Gandhi's allegations of BJD and BJP working together, Pandian said that BJD maintains a level of decency in political discourse and it does not mean that it is collaborating with the party in opposition.

"He (Rahul Gandhi) specifically used the word 'marriage'. He is a bachelor, he should not be giving advice on marriage and relationships. In political discourse, the Chief Minister's idea is, his commitment or value system is that one should not cross that decency, that is the value system he has...That doesn't mean that we are collaborating with the opposite party against whom we are fighting the elections," Pandian said.

ALSO READ | VK Pandian, Naveen Patnaik’s trusted aide, is BJD’s star campaigner in Odisha

During his visit to Odisha last month, Rahul Gandhi had accused BJD of being in partnership with the BJP.

"They are in a marital relationship," he said, adding that it can be called marriage or partnership, but the two parties "are together".

Asked if it can be assumed that he is the political heir to Naveen Patnaik, Pandian, who is also 5T chairman in the state, said that he will be successor in the party leaders values.

"No, I will be the heir, the successor to all his values as I have always stood. His integrity, his commitment, his hard work, his absolute thinking about empowering the people of Odisha - that is what I would succeed him as. My identity in Odisha is "he works for Naveen Patnaik and he delivers." That is the identity which I cherish. The love and affection that I get from people is because of that identity," he said.

On the "outsider" tag for him by some BJP leaders, Pandian asked what is an outsider for an Indian citizen.

"Who is an outsider? BJP, a national party, who talks about One Nation, nationalism...Who is an outsider, let them explain it first. What is an outsider for an Indian citizen? If they explain it, then maybe we will be able to answer it," he said.

Asked if there was bitter political rivalry between BJD and BJP after earlier speculations of alliance between the two parties Pandian said "there is nothing bitter".

"The CM and the PM have a lot of respect for each other. They both wanted to have talks like true statesmen in the larger interest. It didn't happen. But this is election time, so they will tell something and we have to counter it," he said.

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