Nitish Kumar to meet Naveen Patnaik in Odisha on May 9 amid Oppn unity buzz
A senior BJD MP has maintained that the meeting between Naveen Patnaik and Nitish Kumar is a courtesy call and that it should not be politicised
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, who is spearheading Opposition unity talks ahead of 2024 Lok Sabha polls, is all set to meet his Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik on May 9 in Bhubaneswar. The meeting between the two has been confirmed by leaders familiar with the development in both the Janata Dal-United (JD -U) and the Biju Janata Dal (BJD).
Leaders from both the parties said that the meeting is scheduled at 12 noon and is likely to last 30 minutes. JD (U) leaders said that Kumar would also likely travel to Ranchi the same day to meet his Jharkhand counterpart Hemant Soren. “The two leaders are to discuss a wide range of political issues as well as the road ahead to the 2024 Lok Sabha polls,” said a JD (U) leader familiar with the development.
The meeting assumes significance as the BJD has not opened its cards yet and has been maintaining distance from both the BJP and the Congress. “It has neither shown its tilt towards the NDA nor has it spoken anything on the formation of a non-BJP alliance so far,” said a JD (U) leader.
A senior BJD MP told HT that Naveen is a “front-line leader” in the country. “It is a courtesy call and that it should not be politicised. He maintains equidistance from all,” the leader said.
The BJD, incidentally, has not attended any meetings aimed at forging a unity as it is widely believed that Patnaik-led Odisha government has been supporting Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government at Centre.
Kumar in April this year, after meeting prominent opposition leaders in Delhi, including those from Congress and Left parties, had announced his intention to travel across the country to unite opposition parties.
Earlier in last week of April, he travelled to Kolkata to meet West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and then went to Lucknow to meet Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Akhilesh Yadav.
After the meeting, Mamata had suggested to convene the opposition meeting in Patna, reminding the fact that the state had been the focal point of the ‘Total Revolution call of Jaiprakash Narain.