Bhubaneswar: Wondering why Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik has been supporting the NDA government's "wrong" decisions, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma on said the BJP and the BJD might go for some post-poll understanding in 2019.
The people of Odisha have the right to know as to why Patnaik, also the ruling BJD president, frequently supports Prime Minister Narendra Modi's decisions even eight years after their break up, Anand said. The BJD had snapped its 11-year-old ties with the BJP before the 2009 Lok Sabha election over the seat sharing issue. "If you are secular why do you support Narendra Modi while all secular parties have been opposing him," said the former union minister.
Sharma was referring to the recent election for the post of deputy chairman of Rajya Sabha where nine MPs of Biju Janata Dal (BJD) supported NDA candidate Harivansh. He said despite request by many non-BJP leaders, Patnaik preferred to go with the NDA candidate.
Asked whether Congress president Rahul Gandhi had called Patnaik seeking support of the BJD MPs in the Rajya Sabha deputy chairman's election, Sharma avoided a direct reply. "I do not want to embarrass a chief minister. Many leaders including chief ministers have reached out to Patnaik seeking BJD MPs support. But, he preferred to go with the NDA after getting a phone call from the prime Minister," he said. On whether he foresees revival of the BJD-BJP alliance, Sharma said the two parties might opt for post-poll understanding. "They may not go for alliance before elections. But, the BJP has been keeping relationship with the BJD because the BJP knows that their seats will drastically fall in many states (in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls)," he said.
He mentioned states such as Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi where the BJP would lose seats. So, in a "Look East policy", the BJP has been eyeing Odisha, West Bengal and Assam and trying to secure more seats from these three states. "As they may not win many seats in Odisha, the BJP may get support of the BJD after the elections," Sharma said.
To a query about reason behind Patnaik's support to Modi, Sharma said the BJP has been misusing central agencies like the CBI, the ED and others to settle scores with political opponents. He, however, did not say whether the BJD is also being threatened by the BJP. Sharma also referred to the reported statement of Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan yesterday that Patnaik might have some compulsion to support the NDA. "Therefore, we want to know from Patnaik what is the reason behind his party's support to the BJP," Sharma said, adding that a "match fixing is there between the BJD and the BJP and their opposing each other in the state is just an eyewash".
The Congress leader said Patnaik has supported the Centre on demonetisation, GST, no-confidence motion and now in the elections for deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha. Sharma also came down heavily on the NDA government over issues such as decline in GDP rate, frail economic growth, decline in investment ratio and alleged corruption in Rafale jet deal. The country has been passing through a crisis ever since the NDA government came to the power and there is an effort to nullify all the institutions, he claimed.
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Updated Date: Aug 14, 2018 13:00:46 IST