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Naveen Patnaik Asks Party MPs To Oppose BJP In Parliament

Swarajya Staff

Jun 24, 2024, 07:31 PM | Updated 07:31 PM IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with former Odisha chief minister, Naveen Patnaik (Photo: Naveen Patnaik/X)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with former Odisha chief minister, Naveen Patnaik (Photo: Naveen Patnaik/X)

The bonhomie between the BJP and the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in Parliament is over. BJD president Naveen Patnaik has asked his party’s nine Rajya Sabha MPs to oppose the ruling BJP-led NDA in Parliament. 

The BJD used to give issue-based support to the BJP in Parliament and this support was crucial for the BJP in passing many important bills, especially in the Rajya Sabha. 

The BJD has nine MPs in the Rajya Sabha; it failed to win even a single seat in the Lok Sabha elections held this year. In the 17th Lok Sabha (2019-2024), the BJD’s 12 Lok Sabha MPs often supported the BJP. 

Patnaik asked his Rajya Sabha MPs at a meeting in state capital Bhubaneshwar Monday (June 24) afternoon to act as a “vibrant and strong opposition” to the NDA in the Upper House during the next session that starts June 27. 

“Our party MPs will raise issues concerning Odisha and will agitate if the NDA government ignores Odisha’s interests,” BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra, who is also the leader of the party in the Rajya Sabha, told reporters after the meeting with the former Chief Minister. 

The BJD MPs are likely to raise the demand for a special status for Odisha and issues like poor internet connectivity in many areas of the state as well as the low density of bank branches in the state. 

“Odisha’s demand for revision of coal royalty has been ignored by the Centre for the last 10 years. This is causing great loss to the people of the state who are deprived of their rightful share,” said Patra. 

Asked if the party MPs will desist from extending issue-based support to the BJP, Patra categorically said: “No more support to BJP, only opposition. We may go to any extent to protect the interests of Odisha”. 

Patra, however, did not say if the BJD MPs will join the INDI Alliance in taking on the government on various other issues. 

Earlier, at a meeting with his senior party colleagues at his residence Sunday (June 23) afternoon, the party patriarch spelt out his decision to oppose the BJP in the Assembly as well as Parliament. 

Patnaik reminded them that the BJP has a slender majority of only four in the state legislature (the BJP has 78 MLAs, four more than majority in the 147-member Assembly). 

“Even at the Centre, the BJP is short of a majority and will survive with the support of the JD(U) and TDP. Hence, we all should work hard, stay united and strengthen the party. We have to regain our strength and people’s support by positioning ourselves as a strong and responsible opposition,” Patnaik is reported to have told his senior colleagues. 

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