BHUBANESWAR: A day after Harivansh Narayan Singh was elected as Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik over telephone and thanked him for the support to the NDA candidate. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar also thanked Naveen for BJD’s support to Singh, a JD(U) MP in the Upper House.
The support of nine BJD MPs proved crucial for the NDA victory as it took them to a comfortable 125 votes with a margin of 24 over the joint Opposition candidate BK Hariprasad. The BJD had extended support to the NDA candidate after the Prime Minister personally called up Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and sought his backing for Singh.
Several ruling alliance leaders including Nitish Kumar, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and BJP president Amit Shah had also requested Naveen to support the JD(U) candidate. The BJD has, though, stated that the support was due to ideological closeness with JD(U) as both had emerged from the JP movement and the Opposition had fielded a person who was Congress in-charge of Odisha till recently and had fiercely attacked the State Government and the ruling party.