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Why Naveen & KCR Abstained From Anti-BJP Rally?

19 January 2019

Debashish Maharana

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Bhubaneswar: While TMC chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee steered the ‘United India’ anti-BJP rally in Kolkata today and most of the regional satraps, chiefly DMK, RJD, SP, JD(S), TDP, RLD, BSP, etc, participated in it, two influential regional parties BJD and TRS were conspicuous by their absence.

It is well-known that Mamata Banerjee has a very good rapport with both BJD president-cum-Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and TRS president-cum-Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao (popular as KCR). However, each has own party policy.

Following such a political development, Naveen’s and KCR’s absence from the anti-BJP rally has forced poll pundits to deduce the political strategy.

Senior journalist and political analyst Dilip Bisoi opined, “The much-talked about ‘Mahagathbandhan’ is also being led by Congress. For that reason, the rally convened by Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata is attended by those who are interested in the Congress-led ‘Mahagathbandhan’.”

He further opined, “BJD’s party policy is equidistance from Congress and BJP. Both have been held responsible by BJD for Odisha’s sorry state of affairs. Yesterday, the Chief Minister has written a letter to the Centre and has cited that the Central Governments have repeatedly been neglecting Odisha for which the State’s development is being scuttled. Both Congress and BJP have been held responsible for that.”

“Had BJD joined the ‘Mahagathbandhan’, it would have been construed that it is supporting Congress,” he remarked.

The senior scribe stated, “BJD’s principle is to fight election in Odisha alone. There are two main opposition parties, one is Congress, another BJP.”

He also stated, “Reports go that there will be a hung parliament post general election. If it happens, BJD could be an ally then. Hence, both Congress and BJP wish to lure BJD. But Naveen is still maintaining the equidistance from both. Whenever, there is an issue of State’s interest or during any constitutional need, he is supporting the Centre. Otherwise, he is opposing whenever needed.”

“As BJD is a regional party, it main aim and objective is State’s interest and development. It is strong in Odisha and nothing to worry,” he observed.

Senior journalist and political expert Rabi Das said, “The rally is to unite all the opposition parties against Narendra Modi-led NDA Government and to defeat in this 2019 election.”

“He is maintaining his party’s policy of equidistance before the public, but is sending an indirect message to both sides that I’m available in the post-poll scenario. By doing so, he wants that both Congress and BJP will not lay too much stress on Odisha. This is the very strategy he is adopting. That’s why Narendra Modi has also maintained a soft gesture towards Naveen Patnaik as evident from his last three political speeches here in Odisha,” the senior scribe remarked.

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Dilip Bisoi, Senior Journalist

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Rabi Das, Senior Journalist