Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik rules out joining Nitish Kumar’s ‘third-front,’ BJD to go to 2024 polls alone


Bhubaneswar, May 11: Biju Janata Dal (BJD) president and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday put to rest all speculation of his party joining the third front which is being spearheaded by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

Speaking to reporters after his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, Patnaik, when asked to clarify his position on Nitish Kumar’s move to raise a front against the BJP and his party’s possibility of joining it, said, “No, not as far as I’m concerned… not now.”

“There were no political discussions. It has been our principle to go to elections alone,” said Patnaik.

On May 9, the Bihar CM had flown to Bhubaneswar to meet his ‘best friend’ and ‘ex- Union cabinet colleague’ Naveen Patnaik. Both the leaders exchanged pleasantries and had their lunch together at the latter’s residence.

After their lunch, the Bihar CM had said, “We have very good friendship and relationship as old colleagues in the Atal Bihar Vajpayee government at the Centre. Our bond is so strong there is no need to talk politics or about any alliance when we are meeting post the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Kumar’s remark had fuelled speculation that the Odisha CM, who has been maintaining the “principle of equidistance” with regard to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress, might join hands with the former.

Patnaik , who is currently on a three-day trip to the national capital, dismissed the possibility of meeting any other political leaders during this time.

During his interaction with PM Modi, Patnaik discussed the early completion of Sri Jagannath Airport in pilgrim city Puri.

“The boundary wall work of the airport has been completed. Since Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneswar is now experiencing traffic jams, I sought the cooperation of the PM for early completion of the airport at Puri,” said the CM.

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