BHUBANESWAR: Amid reports that Defence Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on the upcoming Presidential election, the ruling BJD skipped the Opposition parties meeting convened by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday to build consensus on a joint candidate.
However, there has been no confirmation either by the Chief Minister's office or BJD sources regarding Rajnath’s discussion with Naveen. This is not the first time that the BJD has stayed away from meetings by Opposition political parties on the President's election.
The last time too the regional party had abstained from a meeting by the Opposition for deciding on a candidate to oppose the NDA.
The BJD had extended support to NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind in the 2017 election. However, surprising political pundits, the Chief Minister had extended BJD’s support to Opposition vice-presidential candidate Gopal Krishna Gandhi in the same year.
Senior vice-president of the BJD Prasanna Acharya said that the Chief Minister took the decision to stay away from the meeting called by Mamata taking into account all aspects and keeping the interest of the State in mind. He said that the Chief Minister will take an appropriate decision at the appropriate time.
The Chief Minister had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah at New Delhi on May 30 triggering speculation that he had discussed the Presidential election with the two leaders.