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Patnaik rules out BJD joining mahagathbandhan; 'will keep equal distance from BJP and Congress'

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik yesterday made it clear that his BJD will not join any grand alliance (or Mahagathbandhan) the opposition parties are trying to form before general elections, and would not align either with the BJP or the Congress.

Speaking to reporters after a meeting here, The Biju Janata Dal president said his party would "continue with our policy of equidistance from the BJP and the Congress."

"I want to clarify that as far as Mahagathbandhan is concerned, the Biju Janata Dal is not a part of it," he said.

The Chief Minister's statement is significant as several non-BJP parties are trying to forge unity in a bid to form a grand alliance to take on the ruling party in the Lok Sabha elections this year.

Patnaik's statement comes a day after he said during his visit to Delhi on Tuesday that his party needed time to take a decision on Mahagathbandhan. "We will take some time and think about it," he had said.

While the ruling BJD was in alliance with BJP for over a decade and both shared power in the state from 2000-2009, the regional party snapped ties with the saffron party on the eve of 2009 elections. Thereafter, it has been maintaining distance from both the BJP and the Congress.

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