7 Mar 2024

BJD Vice President Debi Prasad Mishra Explains Party's Stance Amid Talks of Reuniting with NDA in Odisha

Amidst swirling speculations within political circles in Delhi and Odisha regarding a potential reunion between Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the BJP-led alliance NDA ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, BJD Vice President Debi Prasad Mishra has remarked that the party will prioritize the interests of Odisha's populace.

Mishra emphasized, "Whatever serves the best interests of Odisha and its people will be our guiding principle." 

He revealed that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and other senior BJD leaders recently convened to deliberate on the upcoming polls, stressing that decisions will be made with Odisha's development at the forefront.

Talks between the two parties have progressed to the final stages

Reports suggest that talks between the two parties have progressed to the final stages, with a tentative agreement on seat sharing. An official announcement on this matter is anticipated soon.

The historical context reveals a prior alliance between BJD and NDA during Atal Bihari Vajpayee's tenure, wherein Naveen Patnaik served as Union Minister of Steel and Mines. In 2000, following a successful collaboration in the Odisha Assembly elections, Patnaik assumed office as the Chief Minister.

Recent gatherings of BJD and BJP leaders indicate a significant development, potentially reshaping the state's political landscape after a 15-year gap since their split from NDA. The strategic significance of Odisha's electoral representation, with 21 Lok Sabha seats and 147 assembly seats, underscores the importance of this potential alliance.

Conducive atmosphere for collaboration

In light of past experiences, particularly the fallout in 2009 due to disagreements over seat-sharing, the current discussions mark a pivotal moment in the relationship between the two parties. Nonetheless, recent expressions of mutual appreciation between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Patnaik hint at a conducive atmosphere for collaboration.

Alliance collapsed in 2009 

Once considered the BJP's most reliable ally in the NDA, the alliance collapsed in 2009 following failed seat-sharing talks. The breakdown was officially attributed to the BJD's demand for a reduction in the BJP's share of assembly seats from 63 to around 40, and parliamentary seats from nine to six. This demand, deemed unreasonable by the BJP leaders, led to the withdrawal of support to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's government, marking the end of an 11-year coalition.

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