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After claiming BJP will go solo in polls, Odisha BJP chief retracts statement, rushes back to Delhi

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NewsDrum Desk
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Bhubaneswar, Mar 14 (PTI) Hours after claiming that the BJP will fight the upcoming elections for Lok Sabha and Odisha alone, Odisha BJP president Manmohan Samal on Thursday said that the party’s Parliamentary Party’s decision in this regard is final.

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Samal, who returned to Bhubaneswar on Thursday morning, has been asked to rush back to Delhi and attend a meeting of the party’s top brass in the evening, party sources said.

His earlier assertion had come amid talks of a pre-poll alliance between the BJD and the BJP.

On his arrival from the national capital earlier in the day after meeting Union Minister Amit Shah, Samal said, “BJP will form the government in the state alone with the blessings and cooperation of people.” Around two hours later, however, he said, "Whatever our national president or parliamentary party will say, that is the final decision. Media shouldn't make narrative based on my statement.” Samal also deleted his post on X in which he claimed that the BJP in Odisha will form government in the state on its own.

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Before deleting that post, he told reporters: “The party will fight the elections over the Odisha ‘asmita’ (pride).” When repeatedly asked about the alliance with BJD, Samal had said: “Had that been the case, I would not have said that BJP will form government in Odisha.” Responding to this, BJD MLA Sambit Routray said, "If BJP does not want an alliance, why was Samal running to Delhi every day? We did not ask him to go there. His actions and bytes to the media have fuelled speculations that there could be an alliance. No BJD leader ever said anything about an alliance.” Meanwhile, the BJD has convened a meeting of senior party leaders at Naveen Niwas, the residence of party president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, this afternoon.

The regional party had earlier met on March 6, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Odisha.

BJD vice-president and MLA Debi Prasad Mishra had then acknowledged discussions about a possible alliance with the BJP and said that the party will “prioritise the greater interests of the people of Odisha”.

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Later, the possibility of alliance between the BJD and the BJP was brightened after Odisha BJP leaders were summoned to the national capital on March 10 evening.

They had several rounds of discussions over three days with Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who was tasked by the BJP top brass to take opinion of the party’s state leaders.

Samal along with organising secretary Manas Mohanty, Odisha election in-charge Vijay Pal Singh Tomar and his deputy Lata Usendi, had a meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah at the latter’s residence on Wednesday night.

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Sources said that the state BJP leaders have drawn the attention of the party’s top brass on how the BJD snapped ties with the saffron party and withdrew from the NDA ahead of the 2009 general elections following Kandhamal riot in 2008.

Both the parties had a tie up for 11 years from 1998 to 2009. They had fought three Lok Sabha elections and two assembly elections till 2009.

Simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and the assembly will be held in Odisha. PTI AAM RBT NN

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