Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik's meeting with PM Modi sparks speculation on Presidential election
The Chief Minister had said that his party would take a call on its course of action only after candidates for President post get nominated.
Published: 31st May 2022 08:27 AM | Last Updated: 31st May 2022 08:27 AM | A+A A-
BHUBANESWAR: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi on Monday amid speculations over discussions on the ensuing Presidential election.
The Chief Minister, who is in the national capital on a three-day visit, however, told mediapersons after meeting the Prime Minister that it was a courtesy call and the discussions covered a range of issues pertaining to the State. "It was a courtesy visit. I could not meet the Prime Minister in the last two years due to COVID. I discussed several issues of Odisha's interest and asked for his help," he said.
However, he made it clear that there was no discussion on the President election. The BJD president's visit to Delhi and his meeting with Modi and Shah, though, assumes significance as the BJP-led NDA needs support of the regional party to make up the numbers needed to win the presidential election.
At present, the NDA has 48.8 per cent of the total votes of the electoral college against the necessity of at least 50 per cent of the total vote value.
Even as the BJP won four of the five states where Assembly elections were held in recent months, the numerical strength of the saffron party has reduced considerably in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand compared to its earlier strength.
The BJD has three per cent vote value, which can tilt the scales in BJP's favour. As support from regional parties like Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Trinamool Congress (TMC), Telangana Rastra Samithi (TRS) to the NDA nominee is unlikely due to ideological differences, the BJP is banking heavily on BJD and YSR Congress Party.
The two regional parties have avoided an adversarial stance to the Centre and have extended their crucial support to the BJP on many issues including the passage of contentious bills like Citizenship Act Amendment and scrapping of Article 370.
This is despite the claim of the BJD of maintaining equidistance from BJP and Congress. The BJD had extended its support to the NDA nominee Ram Nath Kovind in the 2017 Presidential election. Earlier, the Chief Minister had said that his party would take a call on its course of action only after candidates for President post get nominated.
The BJD has 12 MPs in Lok Sabha, six members in Rajya Sabha and 113 MLAs in the Odisha Assembly. It is all set to win the four seats in the Upper House election, which will be held on June 10.