Suspended BJD leader and Rajya Sabha member Pyari Mohan Mohapatra on Thursday sought to expose the secular credential of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik by claiming that the BJD chief was reluctant to sever ties with the BJP.
‘’He (Patnaik) was not ready to snap ties with BJP ahead of the 2009 general election. He, however, agreed to do so only after my persuasion. I told him that Congress would benefit if BJP candidates were given more tickets,’’ Mohapatra told a private TV channel here.
Mohapatra, who has floated the Odisha Jan Morcha within the BJD, said he had advised Patnaik to forge seat adjustments with the CPI, CPM and NCP instead of a tie-up with BJP. “Ultimately, my strategy worked and BJD won with overwhelming majority,” Mohapatra who was suspended from the party after his failed coup attempt on May 29 said.
After breaking the 11-year alliance with BJP on March 7, 2009, the Chief Minister had said the relationship with the saffron party became complicated after the Kandhamal incident.
“The terrible violence that broke out after the murder of Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati became difficult to carry on with the BJP’’, he had said.
Curiously, Naveen never broached the communal agenda of the BJP till he ended the alliance on March 7.
Now Pyari claiming that Naveen was not very keen to sever ties with the BJP, the Chief Minister has a lot to explain about his secular credential, said a senior BJP leader.
The BJD forged alliance with the BJP in 1998 and two parties formed a coalition government twice from 2000 to 2009 in the state. However, BJP performed badly and won only six Assembly seats and lost in all the Lok Sabha seats in the 2009 elections.
The BJD secured an absolute majority in the Assembly and won 14 Lok Sabha seats while CPI got one seat leaving six to Congress in the 2009 polls.