No possibility of third front, BJD to go solo in LS polls 2024: Naveen Patnaik

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Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik | File photo: PTI

New Delhi: The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) will go solo in next year's Lok Sabha polls as it has always done, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said on Thursday, days after JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar met him amid efforts to forge a united opposition.

Patnaik, who met Prime Minister Narendra Modi here earlier in the day to discuss developmental issues related to his state, reiterated the BJD's position of remaining equidistant from both the Congress and the BJP. He also described Bihar Chief Minister Kuamr visiting him in Bhubaneswar as a "courtesy call".

Patnaik has been at the helm in Odisha since 2000 and his BJD is among some regional parties that have maintained a neutral stand on the issues involving clashes between the ruling BJP and Opposition. At times, it has supported the BJP in Parliament as well.

Patnaik said he met the prime minister to raise issues related to his state.

In the meeting that lasted around 20-25 minutes, Patnaik raised issues related to infrastructure development in the state, including the under-construction Sri Jagannath Airport, incomplete national highways and opening of bank branches in Gram Panchayat which do not have the facility.

Asked about his meeting with Kumar, and the possibility of a 'third front' emerging, he said, "No, not as far as I'm concerned, not now".

Asked if the BJD will fight the upcoming elections alone, he said, "That has always been the case".

Patnaik, who is in Delhi till Friday, also clarified that he has no plans of meeting any other leaders in the current trip.

On his meeting with Kumar on Tuesday, he said, "It was a courtesy call, he paid a visit. It went off well."

On Tuesday after the meeting, both Patnaik and Kumar had claimed that no discussion were held on any political alliance between the JD(U) and BJD for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. PTI

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