PM Narendra Modi March 5 Odisha Visit Fuels BJD-BJP Alliance Talk

Bhubaneswar: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s scheduled visit to Odisha for a second time within a month on March 5 has further fanned speculation about a possible alliance between the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ahead of the simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and the state Assembly in April.

The date assumes significance since it is the birth anniversary of legendary leader Biju Patnaik in whose memory BJD was founded.

On Friday, Chief Secretary Pradeep Kumar Jena along with DGP Arun Kumar Sarangi reviewed the arrangements related to the PM’s visit at a high-level meeting at Lok Seva Bhawan here.

According to official sources, PM Modi will fly to Bhubaneswar in a special Air Force plane from Telangana and land at Biju Patnaik International Airport here in the afternoon. He will then proceed to Chandikhol in a helicopter and lay foundation stones and inaugurate various projects. He will also address a public meeting at Chandikhol, considered a stronghold of the ruling BJD.

After returning to Bhubaneswar from Chandikhol, the Prime Minister will leave for Kolkata.

Earlier in the day, BJP’s election co-in-charge for the state, Lata Usendi, said Odisha would have a double-engine government in 2024. However, she gave no clear answer to the ongoing buzz about a possible BJD-BJP alliance ahead of the 2024 elections in Odisha.

Though there is no official word on a possible poll pact between the two parties, political circles here are discussing about the possibility of an alliance.

Sources within BJP and BJP did not rule out the possibility of a tie-up, saying the top leadership of both parties (known to be on good terms) might be mulling over it. Political circles here are also talking about the possibility of the Centre possibly acceding to the long standing demand to confer Bharat Ratna on Biju Patnaik posthumously.

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