Bhubaneswar, July 16: The Biju Janata Dal would extend support to the NDA candidate, former Union minister Jaswant Singh, for the post of Vice-President though chief minister Naveen Patnaik is yet to make a formal announcement in this regard.
Even as the chief minister today said he was consulting senior party leaders on the issue, sources in the BJD said there was little other option available to him.
“Despite the fact that he has been following the policy of maintaining equidistance from the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party, if he has to make a choice he would opt for the latter,” said a BJD leader.
The BJD leaders argue that having waged an open war with the Congress on the issue of the Centre’s neglect of Odisha, the BJD cannot be seen as aligning with the Congress under any circumstances.
The chief minister’s loathing for the Congress also became clear when he openly accused former finance minister and presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee of showing undue favour to certain states.
“He cannot afford to go with the Congress in the vice-presidential polls as he runs the risk of losing a major plank, the Centre’s neglect of his state, on which he has been garnering votes. Under the circumstances the BJD has only two options — abstaining from voting or supporting the NDA candidate. The latter option seems better, as by doing so, he would at least make some political friends, who could come in handy in future,” said a BJD leader, adding that the two parties had already joined hands to support another presidential candidate P.A. Sangma.