Congress slams BJD for backing Ram Nath Kovind; Naveen Patnaik says party vouched for Dalit status
Opposition Congress on Tuesday questioned BJD's 'equal distance policy' and criticised Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for supporting NDA's candidate for the presidential poll as soon as Prime Minister Narendra Modi called him up.
Bhubaneswar: Opposition Congress on Tuesday questioned BJD's "equal distance policy" and criticised Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for supporting NDA's candidate for the presidential poll as soon as Prime Minister Narendra Modi called him up.
"Odisha Chief Minister has no guts to deny the prime minister's direction. As soon as Modi called him, he (Patnaik) agreed to suport the NDA candidate. Where is the BJD's equal distance policy," Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra of Congress told reporters.
Mishra also wanted to know what Patnaik will do if another Dalit candidate is fielded for the presidential election.
Rejecting the opposition's charges, Patnaik said "The NDA candidate is a distinguished scheduled caste person. This apart, BJP had supported our (BJD) candidate PA Sangma in the last presidential election."
He said despite its support to BJP candidate Ram Nath Kovind, BJD's fight against Centre's negligence towards Odisha will continue.
The regional outfit after its break up with BJP ahead of the 2009 general elections, had announced that BJD would maintain equal distance from it and Congress.
Patnaik had even dubbed the BJP as "communal" and Congress as "corrupt" while announcing his party's stance vis-a-vis the two national parties.
The 78-year-old Lingayat strongman said this evening that he was yet to receive the 'message' from the party's Central leadership on whether he should continue in his post or quit
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When asked whether a Dalit would be his successor, the 78-year-old said, 'The BJP high command shall decide on it. I am not the one to take any calls.'
A six-time consecutively elected MLA from the Bishnupur seat, Konthoujam had quit the Congress a few days ago