BJP has plans to break BJD, after elections: Pandian

Bhubaneswar, May 8 (PTI) BJD leader and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s close aide V K Pandian on Wednesday alleged that the BJP is fighting elections in the state not to win but to increase its seats with an intention to break the Biju Janata Dal after the polls.

The bureaucrat-turned-politician said this while meeting a group of journalists at Gopalpur in Ganjam district on Wednesday.

“They (BJP) had a slogan of securing 120 assembly seats in 2014 but failed. I do not know their target for 2019. But, for 2024, they have been fighting elections to win 50/60 seats and aim to break BJD after the elections,” Pandian said.

After Maharashtra, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh, the saffron party wants to follow this strategy in Odisha, he claimed.

Asserting that the BJP’s plan will not succeed, Pandian said many people from the national level are coming to campaign in the state, but the people of Odisha have no trust in them.

“Naveen Babu (CM Naveen Patnaik) is the trust of the people,” he said.

Responding to his allegation, senior BJP leader Samir Mohanty said that the saffron party does not need to break the BJD.

“BJP need not break the BJD. It will break on its own. There are several Eknath Sindhe in BJD who are in constant touch with us,” he said.

The BJP is contesting the polls to form government in Odisha, Mohanty said.

Earlier, asked whether he was confident of Patnaik becoming the chief minister for the sixth consecutive time, Padian asserted that the BJD will win the elections with flying colours.

“Had I not such conviction, I would not have said that Naveen babu will be sworn in as CM on June 9 with blessings of Maha Prabu Jagannath,” he said.

Pandian claimed that BJP has no candidate in 60 of the 147 assembly segments in Odisha.

“They waited for the release of BJD’s candidate list so that they could pick up candidates from among the leaders dropped or rejected by us,” he said.

Pandian also came down heavily on Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Bhubaneswar MP Aparajita Sarangi and accused them of attempting to stop the Shree Mandir Parikrama Project (Jagannath temple heritage corridor project).

“They tried to stall the project through ASI, National Monuments Authority (NMA) and by filing petitions in High Court and Supreme Court. They also hired an expensive lawyer to ensure the project does not take off,” Pandian claimed.

Targeting Pradhan, Pandian claimed that he was rejected by the people of his own district, Dhenkanal.

“His party lost in panchayat and urban polls. So, he ran away and filed the nomination paper from nearby Sambalpur Lok Sabha seat. He has done nothing for his own district. Had he done something good for Odisha, our CM would have been liberal not to put any candidate against him. But, his report cards were very poor,” Pandian said.

“Who is he?” asked Pradhan when reporters queried him about Pandian’s comment on his contribution to Odisha.

Replying to a question on BJP raising the Odia Asmita (pride) issue during elections, Pandian said, the central government has not given a single rupee for the promotion of Odia language.

Though the BJP has 8 MPs in Lok Sabha from Odisha, all of them remained completely silent while the Centre was providing money for the promotion of other languages and not for Odia, he claimed.

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