BHUBANESWAR : Even though there were indications of the BJD softening it’s stance towards the NDA after the 2014 Parliamentary polls, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday reiterated the party’s policy of maintaining equal distance from the Congress and the BJP.
In a tete-a-tete with Express Editorial Director Prabhu Chawla during the third edition of the Odisha Literary Festival (OLF) here, the Chief Minister, however, refrained from passing any judgement on the performance of Narendra Modi as Prime Minister.
Naveen, who had announced before the 2014 polls that he was uncomfortable with the idea of Modi as Prime Minister, on Tuesday said it is too early to judge his performance as the new government at the Centre is only a few months old.
“I think it is too early to judge it. The Central Government has only been there for a few months. But the policy of my party is to remain equidistant from both the Congress and the BJP,” he said.
The Chief Minister, who has successfully kept the ‘Modi wave’ at bay in Odisha, said the BJD is popular in the state because of its policy of transparency and efficiency. The party was re-elected consecutively for the fourth time in 2014 because of the anti-poverty programmes and development schemes launched by the government, he said.
Naveen said he was not rattled by the CBI probe into the chit fund scam in the state. “The government after all is not involved in this,” he said and added, “We have done our best to clean up the mess.”
Replying to a question, the Chief Minister made it clear that he has no national ambition.
“There is still a lot of work to be done in Odisha. So I would like to confine myself to the state,” he said and added that the regional parties too have a future in the country. “Regional parties are not on a decline and will continue healthily in future”, he said.
The Chief Minister, however, parried a question on his successor. “There are plenty of people who are going to come after me,” Naveen said and added that there were a lot of young people in the and the government.