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Patnaik rules out BJD joining mahagathbandhan; 'will keep equal distance from BJP, Cong'

Press Trust of India  |  Bhubaneswar 

Wednesday 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 or the

Speaking to reporters after a meeting here, The said his party would "continue with our policy of equidistance from the and the "

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

The Chief Minister's statement is significant as several non-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 on Tuesday that his party needed time to take a decision on "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

The BJP, meanwhile, accused the BJD of having some "understanding" with the Congress, which, in turn, charged that has been "with the BJP all along".

BJP said, "There is no doubt that the BJD is having hidden understanding with the Congress. Patnaik's statement is nothing but a ploy to mislead the people,"

(OPCC) lashed out at the accusing him of being with the BJP all along, but claiming to have an "equal distance policy" only in self-defence.

Referring to Patnaik's meeting with Telangana K Chandrasekhar Rao here last month, he said it was an exercise to weaken anti-BJP forces.

Patnaik during his meeting with K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) last month, had said: "We are state teams."

Then, KCR and Patnaik had emphasised on unification of regional parties to provide an alternative to the Congress and the BJP ahead of the 2019

Citing several instances, Congress leaders said BJD MPs had staged walkout during a no-confidence motion against the in Lok Sabha last year "which showed its affinity towards the saffron party".

Moreover, the BJD had also supported the NDA candidate in presidential elections, besides backing several moves including demonetisation and GST, they said.

BJD MPs had also voted in favour of NDA nominee Harivansh during election for the post of

Since 2009, the BJD has been fighting Lok Sabha as well as Assembly elections alone.

Odisha has 21 Lok Sabha and 147 assembly seats and the two polls will take place simultaneously in the state.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, January 09 2019. 16:55 IST