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Former BJD MP Tathagata Satpathy hits out at BJD-BJP covert pact

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Bhubaneswar: Newspaper editor and former Biju Janata Dal Lok Sabha MP Tathagata Satpathy has not taken lightly the BJD’s decision to stand behind the Bharatiya Janata Party – supporting the central government’s Delhi Services Bill and not supporting the no-confidence motion moved by the opposition parties against the ruling party in Parliament.

Commenting on the BJD’s position on Twitter on 1 August 2023, Satpathy made it clear that as the Congress was weak the BJD and BJP would unapologetically cooperate till another regional party emerged to challenge them in the state.

“Congress in Orissa no more an expensive commodity. BJD-BJP will henceforth surely work openly together and we shall have the glorious period of Kalinga returned to us. It will be honey and sugar all the way till another Regional party is born,” Satpathy tweeted sarcastically.     

Satpathy, the editor of the leading Odia daily Dharitri and English daily Orissa Post, is a four-time MP who represented Dhenkanal Lok Sabha constituency first from 1998 to 1999, and then between 2004 and 2019. He left the BJD just after the 2019 elections saying, “I was mulling it for a long time. My son was pressurising me. He wants me to stay at home, focus on journalism and not contest the election.”      

The BJP is the main opposition to the BJD in Odisha. But the BJD supported the BJP government at the centre at its every crucial juncture, especially when controversial bills passed in Parliament. Satpathy’s observation makes it clear that the BJD has lost its confidence in its core values and principles.

This lack of confidence compromises the BJD’s primary goal, which is to serve the political identity and sentiments of the 4.5 crore Odias. Although the seasoned political leader and editor does not cite the causes, in a recent tweet he stated that “cowards, through the ages, have been the collaborators with whoever seems power”.

 In 2000, a coalition of the BJD and BJP came to power for the first time in Odisha defeating the ruling Congress. However, in 2009, chief minister Naveen Patnaik snapped all ties with the BJP blaming the latter for the communal violence in Kandhamal in 2008.

Patnaik claimed to be professing the policy of “equidistance” for the BJP as well as Congress at the national level. However, recent mutual cooperation between the BJD and the “communal” BJP has confused the people in the state, according to political observers. As the Congress shows no sign of revival, people may look for a new regional outfit for succour, as Satpathy’s tweet suggests.

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