Bhubaneswar, Feb. 26: BJP state unit president K.V. Singh Deo today asserted that the BJP would not forge any alliance with any party. At the same time, he made it clear that leaders wanting to join the BJP were welcome.
“I have made it clear that we will not have any alliance with any one. However, we will welcome anyone who wants to join the BJP,” he said.
Singh Deo’s statement assumes significance as the BJP in-charge of Odisha Chandan Mitra had come from Delhi to convince the local leadership to agree on an alliance with the smaller parties such as Odisha Jan Morcha led by Rajya Sabha member Pyari Mohan Mohapatra, Ama Odisha of Soumya Ranjan Patnaik and Utkal Bharat of Kharavela Swain.
However, the state unit of the BJP has prevailed upon the central leadership not to make any alliance with the smaller parties and contest on all seats on its own strength.
From Singh Deo’s statement, it appeared that the local leaders have no hesitation if two former MPs — Utkal Bharat chief Kharavela Swain and Ama Odisha chief Soumya Ranjan Patnaik — return to the BJP.
Both had left the party accusing the leadership of highhandedness and in protest against the interference of the RSS in party affairs.
Swain said: “We had a talk with Mitra about the alliance. He will communicate our decision to the central leadership. We will wait for their decision and after that we will decide our future course of action.”
On joining the BJP, Swain said: “The NDA was running a government with the support of 22 regional parties. I hope there would be no problem regarding this. However after Singh Deo’s statement, we have nothing to say at this moment but will wait for a communication from the central leadership.”
OJM chief Pyari Mohan Mohapatra said: “We had already discussed the issue. I will insist for a greater alliance for a greater cause. I had already discussed the issue with the three former presidents of the BJP. As the present president was busy with his daughter’s marriage, the talks could not be held. On this issue, I have no ego problem at all.” Patnaik, however, could not be contacted for his response.
Sources said that yesterday in his meeting with state leaders, Mitra had insisted on an alliance with smaller parties to consolidate anti-BJD votes. As soon as he uttered the name of OJM, a section of old timers, shot back and said that they would not allow the party to slip into the hands of Mohapatra.
“We raised the issue of how Mohapatra was instrumental in breaking the alliance between the BJD and the BJP in 2009,” the leaders said.
BJP spokesperson Suresh Pujari said: “Before making any alliance with a party, a fair assessment should be made on the acceptability, adaptability and popularity of that party among the people.”
Incidentally, filmstars Sritam Das and Pinki Pradhan today joined the party.