Nitish Naveen Meet No discussion on formation of alliance, says Odisha CM

Bhubaneswar, May 9 : Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar met his Odisha counterpart and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) president Naveen Patnaik here at the latter's residence on Tuesday. Both the Chief Ministers had lunch together. However, no discussion was held about forming an alliance, said Patnaik after the meeting. "I am delighted that Nitish Ji is here in Bhubaneswar. We are old friends and colleagues. We have served together under the Vajpayee government. We were discussing allocation of land in Puri for tourists from Bihar," he said. The Odisha Chief Minister said 1.5 acres of land will be given to the Bihar government at Puri free of cost for the Bihar tourists and pilgrims, who come to visit the temple of Lord Jagannath. "No discussion was held about any alliance today," he clarified when media persons asked about BJD's joining in the possible alliance of anti-BJP parties. Nitish Kumar said he has an old relationship with Naveen Patnaik and his father Biju Patnaik. "I was frequently meeting Naveenji. However, due to Covid-19 pandemic, I was not able to meet him. So, I wanted to meet him," the Bihar CM said. When asked about whether there was any political discussion between the two top leaders, the JDU leader, with a smiling face, replied, "Don't worry about political things. We have such a strong relationship, there is no need to think about political issues and, also, don't compare it with any others." Replying to a media query on release of don-turned-politician Anand Mohan Singh, Nitish Kumar said, "If someone is convicted and then he gets rigorous imprisonment. After that, he was released from jail. Following the central rule of 2016, this is happening across the country." Notably, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee had met Naveen Patnaik in March this year. During that time also, both the leaders have denied any discussion on formation of a third front or any alliance. However, they had advocated for strengthening of federal structure in India. Following the break-up of the BJD-BJP coalition government in 2009, the Naveen Patnaik-led BJD has been maintaining equal distance from both BJP and Congress. Besides, it is not shown much interest to be involved in national politics. The regional party always says its focus is on the interest of Odisha and its people. /IANS


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