Open to ties with Cong: BJD leader

Bhubaneswar: The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) "is open to an alliance with secular parties, including the Congress, to contain the BJP" in Odisha, Damodar Rout, the ruling party's vice-president, said on Monday.

It is not yet clear whether party president and chief minister Naveen Patnaik had authorised Rout, who is the state agriculture minister, to speak on the issue. So far, the BJD has been "maintaining an equal distance" from the Congress and the BJP with which Patnaik had an alliance till 2009.

"The BJP is a communal party and to contain its influence, all secular parties must join hands. The Congress should give us a list of Assembly constituencies where it has the potential to win. Our party president Naveen Patnaik will take the final call," Rout said.

But BJD MP Kalikesh Singh Deo said "there is no need for any truck with the Congress. This could be Rout's personal view".

A Congress leader said the party would await Patnaik's stand.

Union minister and BJP leader Prakash Javadekar said in Bhubaneswar: "Two zeros cannot challenge a hero."


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