In what could be considered a major blow to opposition unity months before the general elections, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday said that his party, Biju Janata Dal (BJD), will now be a paft of the mahagathbandhan. “The BJD will not be part of the mahagathabandhan. The party will continue to remain equidistant from both the BJP and the Congress,” said Patnaik.
The decision comes amid plans of forming a grand alliance of opposition parties in 2019 general elections to take on the Modi government at the centre. Earlier on Tuesday had said that he would need more time to think on which side to join in upcoming general elections.
Patnaik, while addressing farmers on Tuesday, came down heavily on the Modi government for failing to fulfil the promises made before the 2014 general elections. The BJD has so far maintained its distance both from the BJP and the Congress.
TRS chief K Chandrashekar Rao, upon returning to power in Telangana, visited the Odisha CM in an effort build a federal front minus the BJP and the Congress. The mahagathbandhan, on the other hand, is a proposed group of non-BJP parties aiming to dethrone the Narendra Modi-led government in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.