Bhubaneswar:9/5/23: Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and his Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik, who met today here at latter’s residence, have declined any discussion on united alliance or political scenario.
“We were old friends and colleagues ever since we served in Vajpayee’s Cabinet. Ours is a known friendship, and we were colleagues many years ago. No discussion was held on any alliances today,” Patnaik reacted to media queries after the meeting.
Kumar, who had earlier met SP president Akhilesh Yadav and West Bengal CM and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee, also reiterated Naveen’s statement.
“We have been maintaining a very cordial relationship since his father’s (Biju Patnaik) demise. I have visited this place many times in past. But, due to corona pandemic, I could not come,” Kumar said.
On a query whether both the leaders had any discussion on alliance, Kumar echoed similar voice what his counterpart claimed. “I have an old relationship with Naveen. Don’t worry about politics. Our relationship is so good that there is no need to think about politics. But don’t compare this relationship with others,” Kumar said.
The media statement of the two veteran politicians amid the buzz of Nitish on a mission to float an anti-BJP front, however, created a flutter in the political circle after the JD (U) led by Kumar made a contradictory tweet on party’s official handle.
It tweeted in Hindi “Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, becoming the front leader in uniting opposition parties, went to Odisha and met Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. Without any personal ambition, he is uniting opposition parties.”
Political analysts feel there must be some sort of discussion between the two regarding Kumar’s mission of a united front against BJP. However, Naveen, who has been claiming equidistance from both BJP and Congress ever since the BJD-led by him exited NDA in 2008. On the other hand, his support to BJP from outside has been observed on several occasions when the regional party had come forward to back NDA in the passage of several important Bills in Parliament.
In March, there was an informal meeting between West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and her Odisha counterpart in Bhubaneswar. That time too, there was wide speculation that two leaders must have discussed possible political scenarios in the run-up to the 2024 elections. Both, however, dismissed such talks.
The Bihar Chief Minister, who severed all ties with BJP last year, has toured many places and met political leaders of various hues as part of his “opposition unity drive” with a mission to defeat his former ally in the forthcoming Lok Sabha poll.
Earlier, Kumar had met top Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Samajwadi Party boss Akhilesh Yadav, and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. He is scheduled to visit Jharkhand CM and JMM chief Hemant Soren, NCP president Sharad Pawar and Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray.