Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday said his Biju Janata Dal (BJD) will go solo in the next year’s Lok Sabha polls as it has ”always” done, days after JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar met him amid efforts to forge a united opposition flank.
Talking to media in the national capital after a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi over developmental issues related to his state, Patnaik said Nitish Kumar’s visiting him Bhubaneswar was a ”courtesy call” and reiterated his party’s position of remaining equidistant both from the Congress as well as the BJP.
Patnaik has been at the helm in Odisha since 2000 and his BJD is among some regional parties which have maintained a neutral stand on the issues involving clashes between the ruling BJP and Opposition. At times, it has supported the BJP in Parliament as well. Patnaik said he met the prime minister to raise issues related to his state. In the meeting that lasted around 20-25 minutes, Patnaik raised issues related to infrastructure development in the state, including the under-construction Sri Jagannath Airport, incomplete national highways and opening of bank branches in Gram Panchayat which do not have the facility. Asked about his meeting with Kumar, and the possibility of a ‘third front’ emerging, he said, ”No, not as far as I’m concerned, not now”.
Asked if the BJD will fight the upcoming elections alone, he said, ”That has always been the case”.
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Patnaik, who is in Delhi till Friday, also clarified that he has no plans of meeting any other leaders in the current trip. On his meeting with Kumar on Tuesday, he said, ”It was a courtesy call, he paid a visit. It went off well.” On Tuesday after the meeting, both Patnaik and Kumar had claimed that no discussion were held on any political alliance between the JD(U) and BJD for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.