BHUBANESWAR: Even as there seems to be indications of BJD’s softening of stance towards the NDA after the 2014 parliamentary polls, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday reiterated the party’s policy of maintaining equi-distance from the Congress and the BJP.
In a tete-a-tete with Editorial Director of ‘The New Indian Express’ 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 the Prime Minister.
Naveen, who had announced before the 2014 polls that he is uncomfortable with the idea of Modi as the Prime Minister, said it is early days 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 is 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 are a lot of young people in the BJD and Government.