BHUBANESWAR: Odisha Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal president Naveen Patnaik happens to be the only rival of the BJP which, despite all criticisms, has stood by the latter during all political crises. Though the two parties traded acrimonious charges during 2019 Lok Sabha and Assembly elections held simultaneously in the state, never after that have they presented themselves before the public as adversaries. On the other hand, they have displayed an uncommon bonhomie which still remains decoded. The regional party has never faltered to extend its unequivocal support to the BJP when it comes to passing controversial bills in the Parliament.
The BJD, which claims itself a secular party and enjoys Muslim support in the state supported passing of the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 in the Parliament. Prior to this it supported the Triple Talaq Bill and abrogation of of Article 370.
In the aftermath of passing CAA, when the BJP’s rivals upped their ante against the NDA, Naveen remained silent.
Though a few Muslim organisations, initially raised voice against the CAA and the proposed NRC, Naveen pacified them by meeting the leaders and assuring that no Muslim in the state will be affected by CAA. He also assured that NRC will not happen in the state.
Critics say the astute politician Patnaik, who has convincingly defeated the BJP elections after elections, at present senses no threat from the latter and hence does not want to lock horns with it. “By extending support to BJP in the House, Naveen has successfully shielded his scam-tainted ministers against actions by investigating agencies. He also managed to extract more grants to roll out new schemes and fund the existing ones, thus further securing his vote banks at grassroot levels,” says Professor Kishore Chandra Swain, a political analyst at Utkal University, Bhubaneswar.