Lok Sabha polls: BJD-BJP talks fail, saffron party to go solo in Odisha, says report

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The alliance between Odisha’s ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has reportedly hit a roadblock. BJP and BJD have been talking seat sharing for the upcoming Lok Sabha and state assembly elections. However, talks, which were held in Delhi, appeared stuck as both the parties had differences over two seats —  Puri and Bhubaneshwar. While Puri is held by BJD, Bhubaneshwar has been a stroghold for BJP.

BJP state president Manmohan Samal, who returned to Bhubaneswar on Friday evening, hinted that the saffron party may field candidates in all 147 assembly and 21 Lok Sabha constituencies in Odisha. Samal said that the discussions in Delhi were solely focused on preparations for the upcoming elections, with no mention of an alliance or seat-sharing arrangement, news agency PTI reported.

“There was no talk on alliance and we (BJP) will go to polls alone,” Samal said. “We had gone to Delhi to hold discussions with the central leaders on our preparations for the upcoming Lok Sabha and assembly elections in the state. No talks on alliance or seat-sharing with any party were held during the meeting. The BJP will contest the twin polls on its own strength,” he added.

BJD president and CM Naveen Patnaik’s aides – V K Pandian and Pranab Prakash Das returned to Bhubaneswar. Pandian and Das had gone to New Delhi to hold talks with BJP leadership. BJP-BJD were talking about a possible alliance after 15 years, after they parted ways before the 2009 general elections. The BJD has continuously ruled Odisha, which sends 21 members to the Lower House, for the last 24 years.

In the 2014 assembly elections, the BJD secured a dominant position with 117 out of 147 seats, while the BJP won 10 and the Congress 16. In 2019, a shift in voting patterns was evident, with the BJD winning 112 assembly seats, the BJP 23, and the Congress nine.

Earlier, it was reported that both the parties had agreed to an arrangement where BJP will fight 14 Lok Sabha seats and the BJD on 7. In the 147-member assembly, the BJD is likely to contest 100 seats and the BJP 47. 

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