Who Could Naveen Patnaik Support In Centre Post 2019 Elections?

15 April 2019

Debashish Maharana

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Bhubaneswar: Known for his short and to-the-point statements, Odisha Chief Minister and supremo of ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) Naveen Patnaik has made it clear in several interviews and even in the party’s manifesto that ‘BJD will play kingmaker in Centre and they will support the party that backs the just and legitimate demands of Odisha’. Since the statement does not clearly indicate inclination to any national party and BJD has traditionally maintained equidistance from both BJP and Congress, OMMCOM NEWS asked poll pundits to gauge the implications of Naveen’s declaration.


Political analyst and Consulting Editor of India Today, Rajdeep Sardesai said, “There is a possibility of regional parties playing a greater role in Delhi after 2019 elections. If Uttar Pradesh doesn’t go according to Modi’s plan, then BJP will need fresh allies. Any regional party that picks up 15 or more seats, has a chance in Delhi. It can include Mayawati, Akhilesh, KCR, Jaganmohan Reddy, DMK, Mamata or Naveen Patnaik. Add all these votes, it can be 120. And once you have a block of 120, then this block can decide who becomes the next Prime Minister.”

He also said that BJD will be in double digits in Lok Sabha seats and in Assembly, they will get 80 seats at least.

Senior journalist and poll pundit Dilip Satpathy said, “BJD can go three ways- there is BJP led National Democratic Alliance, Congress led United Progressive Alliance and the Mahagathbandhan. Now, everything depends on the results. We will have to see which party gets the highest number of seats in Centre and stakes claim to form the Government. At that time, BJD can bargain for Odisha’s demands.”

Throwing light on the Odisha issues that will be given priority by BJD, Satpathy mentioned, special category status to the State, extensive rail connectivity, upliftment of backward and tribal regions, Polavaram and Mahanadi water-sharing disputes.

“It is notable to mention here that the conch party has swung both ways in the Centre, despite not backing any party completely. In case of GST and demonetization, they supported NDA. They also backed NDA’s candidate Harivansh Singh for Rajya Sabha’s Deputy Chairman. But, they had supported UPA’s Vice-Presidential nominee Gopal Krishna Gandhi,” Satpathy added.

He further opined, “The CM has clearly stated that the BJP is their main opponent in Odisha, this time. In 2014, it was Congress. So, will they support their main opponent in Centre or will they support Congress, all these factors will come to play during the final decision.”

On similar lines, veteran journalist Prasanta Patnaik said, “BJD has always maintained equi-distance from Congress and BJP. But whenever Modi has begged for support, Naveen has backed him. However this time, since Modi has not backed Odisha’s demand of a special category status, BJD has turned hostile towards him and his Government at the Centre.”

“If at all, Modi needs support after the elections for government formation assuring special category status to Odisha, Naveen Babu may extend support. If not this, then BJD may support either the Congress-led or other coalition led Government,” he concluded.

Senior journalist and poll pundit Prabhukalyan Mohapatra opined, “BJD is at an extremely advantageous state. By maintaining equidistance from both the BJP-led NDA and Congress-led UPA, BJD has maintained a balance. During election, Narendra Modi is criticizing Naveen Patnaik and vice versa. It is obvious at the time of election. But, they have maintained intact their personal relationship.”


“Similar is the case with the Congress. If either of the coalition extends support to the just demands of Odisha, Naveen Babu will support after election if needed,” he concluded.

Amidst all this uncertainty, all eyes are now glued to May 23 and the post-poll action after that.

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Rajdeep Sardesai, Consulting Editor, India Today

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Dilip Satpathy, Senior Journalist

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Prasanta Patnaik, Veteran Journalist

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Prabhukalyan Mohapatra, Senior Journalist