BJD keeps options open for post-poll alliance

BJD keeps options open for post-poll alliance
PTI
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First Published: Tue, Mar 10 2009. 12 56 AM IST
Updated: Tue, Apr 07 2009. 03 15 PM IST
Bhubaneswar: Keeping its options open for the post-election scenario, the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD), in Orissa on Tuesday said that it was not part of any front or political formation at the moment despite its new-found bonhomie with the Left.
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“We are neither part of the NDA, UPA nor Third Front,” said BJD secretary general Damodar Rout on the eve of the Naveen Patnaik-led government’s trial of strength in the Assembly tomorrow following the snapping of the party’s 11-year-old alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
“Neither the Congress nor BJP is our enemy. They are political opponents and we will campaign against them during elections,” he said.
The BJD would take a stand on joining any front only after the elections, he said.
“We will support the group which promises to protect the interest of the state,” Rout said while not ruling out the possibility of backing NDA (National Democratic Alliance) again or supporting UPA (United Progressive Alliance) in forming a government at the Centre.
Denouncing BJP’s withdrawal of support to the Patnaik government barely an hour after seat-sharing talks failed, the BJD leader alleged that the saffron party “betrayed” the trust of the people who had chosen Naveen Patnaik as the chief minister.
The BJP leadership could have waited for a day to resume talks on seat-sharing which had broken down, Rout said adding central leaders of the saffron party could have taken up the matter with the BJD supremo before pulling out of the government.
“If they were unhappy over the talks, the BJP ministers could have submitted their resignation to the chief minister instead of rushing to Raj Bhavan to withdraw support to a popular government,” he said, claiming the BJP was demanding 93 assembly seats despite being aware about its “poor winning potential”.
The BJP demanded more seats after being unable to withstand pressure from its rank and file, Rout said while blaming the erstwhile ally for breaking the association.
Asked whether BJD would extend support to the NDA after the polls, he said “any decision regarding support to any front will be taken only after the elections”.
Proving majority on the floor of the Assembly on Wednesday and subsequently winning the maximum seats in the Lok Sabha and assembly elections were BJD’s priority now, he said.
The BJD leader denied allegations of horse-trading before the trust vote saying “we will sail through comfortably.”
The party was also hopeful of getting votes from the opposition Congress which had in the past showed willingness to support Naveen Patnaik if he severed ties with the saffron party, Rout claimed.
The BJD has 61 members in the 147-member house including the Speaker Kishore Mohanty. It has been assured the support of legislators belonging to the JMM (four), NCP (two), CPI (one), CPI-M (one) besides seven independents.
One of the independents, Sambhunath Nayak had announced his decision to abstain from voting. The Opposition Congress has 38 members and BJP 32 of whom three MLAs had resigned from the party.
“Our government is absolutely safe. While the chief minister has submitted a list of 76 supporting MLAs to Governor (M C Bhandare), more legislators are likely to vote in our favour,” Rout said.
Meanwhile, Congress Leader of the Opposition Ulaka Ramchandra said his party was yet to decide its strategy for tomorrow’s trust vote. “We are yet to decide. Our legislature party will meet before the trust vote and finalise our stand,” Ulaka said.
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First Published: Tue, Mar 10 2009. 12 56 AM IST