BJP hints at contesting LS, Odisha Assembly polls alone as talks with BJD near dead end over seat sharing – India TV

Narendra Modi, Naveen Patnaik, Odisha, BJP BJD alliance, Lok Sabha elections, Odisha
Image Source : PTI PM Narendra Modi and Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik

Lok Sabha elections 2024: As the BJP-BJD alliance and seat sharing talks remained inconclusive in the national capital, the Odisha unit of the saffron party has said that it may field candidates in all the 147 assembly and 21 Lok Sabha constituencies of the state. BJP state president Manmohan Samal, who along with other senior leaders of the party returned to Bhubaneswar from the national capital on Friday evening, said, “There was no talk on alliance and we (BJP) will go to polls alone.”

Samal said that they had visited Delhi to hold discussions with the central leaders on the party’s preparations for the upcoming Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in the state.

“No talks on alliance or seat-sharing with any party were held during the meeting,” he said.

He exuded confidence in the Odisha BJP winning both the polls. “The BJP will contest the twin polls on its own strength,” he said.

BJD leaders VK Pandian and Pranab Prakash Das, who had rushed to Delhi in a chartered flight on Thursday evening to discuss pre-poll alliance issues with BJP central leaders, also returned to Bhubaneswar. Upon their return, they maintained silence regarding the outcome of their discussions.

Alliance talks met hurdles: Sources

Sources said that the alliance talks between Naveen Patnaik’s BJD and the BJP hit hurdles over seat sharing. Though both the parties have mutually agreed for a pre-poll alliance, there was a difference over seat sharing.

While the BJD sought to contest from over 100 seats in the 147-member Odisha Assembly, it was not acceptable to the BJP, sources in the saffron camp claimed.

In the outgoing assembly, the regional party has 114 members and, initially, it demanded 112 seats during talks with the BJP.

“The BJD is demanding about 75 per cent of the assembly seats which is not acceptable to us,” a senior BJP leader said, adding such a situation would adversely affect the prospect of the saffron party in the state.

Deadlock over seat sharing

The BJP, on the other hand, sought 14 of the 21 Lok Sabha seats in Odisha which had been rejected by the BJD.

In the 2019 general elections, the BJD had won 12 seats while the BJP won eight.

“It would be suicidal for us if we contest in less than 10 LS seats,” a senior BJD leader said.

Odisha BJP leaders led by Samal stayed in Delhi for three days and held marathon meetings with several central leaders at the residence of state election in-charge and Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Pal Singh Tomar.

The BJD has indicated that it would do everything, including forging an alliance, for the “interest of the state and its people”.

Both the parties were in alliance for around 11 years between 1998 and 2009 and fought three Lok Sabha and two assembly elections together. When Janata Dal was split in 1998, Patnaik formed his own party and joined the Vajpayee-led BJP government, as the steel and mines minister.

The two parties fought assembly polls together for the first time in 2000 and again in 2004.

(With PTI inputs)

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