Bhubaneswar: Union Petroleum and Steel Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Sunday rubbished reports of secret nexus between BJD and BJP over the nomination of former bureaucrat Ashwini Vaishnav for Rajya Sabha.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi had urged Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to support his candidature and the latter agreed to it,” the minister said. “There is need for a mutual understanding in democracy,” he said.
On Friday, Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik announced that his party would back Vaishnav, around 30 minutes after the saffron party declared him as its nominee. Naveen even clarified that his party decided to bat for Vaishnav following discussions with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister and BJP national president Amit
Although the regional party has the numbers (112 out of 145 MLAs) in the state legislature to ensure victory in all three seats for which by-polls will be held on July 5, the ruling party clearly decided to go for Vaishnav. BJD’s IT cell chairman and spokesperson Amar Patnaik and party spokesperson Sasmit Patra are the other two nominees for the vacant Rajya Sabha seats.
State Congress president Niranjan Patnaik had then attacked the two parties, saying: “It was a drama being enacted by the BJD and the BJP. Both parties have a secret
Former minister in BJD government and BJP leader Damadar Rout told mediapersons that Vaishnaw had been advising the Chief Minister on several issues for the past few years. “He also facilitated meetings between Naveen and PM Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah in Delhi. So, it would wise not to read too much into the BJD’s decision to support his candidature,” he added.
Odisha Bytes had earlier reported about possible reasons behind BJD’s decision to support BJP’s nominee, Vaishnav.
- Political analysts believe Naveen would have been left with little choice but entertain Modi and Shah’s request considering Odisha and BJD’s larger interests in view.
- Political circles believe Modi could be planning to induct Vaishnav as a minister and hence would have requested Naveen to support his candidature.
An IIT alumnus, Vaishnav severed as collectors of Balasore and Cuttack districts before proceeding on central deputation. He had served as deputy secretary in the PMO when Atal Behari Vajpayee was the PM and even worked with him after he lost the 2004 polls.
When BJD and BJP were alliance partners in Odisha, Vaishnav was said to be a key person in coordinating affairs between the two parties.