BJP ’still hopeful’ of ties with BJD

March 8th, 2009 - 12:50 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 8 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), still reeling from the shock of losing its more than decade-old trusted alliance partner, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), just ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, said Sunday it was still hopeful of a solution.
“We are still hopeful” that the alliance would not be broken, BJP strategist and vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told IANS Sunday morning.

Asked the reason behind the hope after BJD head and Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced Saturday night the end of the 11-year-old friendship, Naqvi said: “Because the BJD is our old and dependable partner.”

Patnaik, after a meeting with BJP emissary Chandan Mitra, told waiting mediapersons that the alliance was off. This came after the BJP sought more time to decide on the issue of seat sharing, sources said.

An urgent meeting of the core committee of the BJP has been called Sunday at the residence of BJP’s senior leader L.K. Advani, who is also the party’s prime ministerial hopeful, to deliberate on how to deal with the crisis ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

With Patnaik’s withdrawal from the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), the strength of partners has come down to nine. When the NDA formed the national government in 1999, the alliance had 24 partners.

The Orissa leader was not willing to concede more than five out of the 21 Lok Sabha seats in the state to the BJP, and 35 of the total 147 seats for the assembly elections.

Many in the BJP have termed it as Patnaik’s “arm-twisting” tactics since the break-up of seats exceeded the arrangement during the previous elections when the BJP had 63 seats to contest in the assembly and nine in the general elections.

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