Opposition Unity Bid: Naveen Patnaik & Nitish Kumar To Meet In Odisha Capital Today

Bhubaneswar: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is all set to meet his Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik in Odisha capital on Tuesday afternoon.

The JD(U) supreme leader, who is spearheading Opposition unity talks to cobble up a grand opposition alliance against the BJP ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, is likely to leave for Bhubaneswar in the forenoon and fly back by the evening, sources said.

This meeting too is a part of the efforts to bring all non-NDA parties together.

The two CMs are likely to meet over lunch and discuss a wide range of political issues for over 1 hours. Some reports, however, suggested that meeting is scheduled at 12 noon and is likely to last 30 minutes. Nitish and Naveen were once cabinet colleagues in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.

The BJD, which has been maintaining distance from both BJP and Congress, has avoided tilting either towards the NDA or evolving non-BJP alliance so far. The ruling party of Odisha has so far skipped all meetings aimed at forging a third front. While the Naveen Patnaik-led BJD has been supporting the Narendra Modi government at the Centre in almost all issues since 2019, the state units of the two parties are gradually adopting an aggressive stand against each other ahead of the twin polls.

In April this year, Nitish had announced his intention to travel across the country to unite opposition parties after meeting prominent opposition leaders in Delhi, including those from Congress and Left parties. He travelled to Kolkata to meet West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who herself had met Naveen Patnaik a few days ago, and then went to Lucknow to meet Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Akhilesh Yadav.

He will fly to Mumbai on May 11 to meet Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray and then NCP chief Sharad Pawar. He is also planning a big meeting of all Opposition Leaders in Delhi on May 18, the reports further added.

In March, the meeting between Naveen and Mamata in the Odisha capital had renewed the buzz of the Trinamool chief leading an initiative to forge an alliance of regional parties against the BJP. However, Mamata called the meeting a “courtesy call” and Naveen said that there was no “political discussion” during the meeting, “We resolved to make the federal structure of the country permanent and strong. There was no other political discussion,” he said.


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