Poker Faced Patnaik Silent over Future Plans

Celebrations in the Third Front may still have to wait, as Orissa Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) boss, Navin Patnaik, has decided to hold on to his aces and play them close to his chest ahead of the twin elections the state faces over the next two months.

Speaking to correspondents in Bhubaneswar on Monday Patnaik said that the BJD was still a part of the NDA, despite severing ties with the BJP at the state-level.

Patnaik, however, continues to maintain a conspicuous silence over his future plans and has refused to comment on if and when he would join the ‘doosra’ secular alliance – the Third Front – an amalgam of regional parties that is beginning to threaten larger political outfits, the BJP and the Congress.

Wrapping up a visit to the state, CPI(M) leader and politburo member, Sitaram Yecury, had said that the formal entry of the BJD into the Third Front would not happen immediately.

Yechury had met Patnaik on Sunday, a day after his party broke off an 11 year old alliance with partners Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over differences on seat sharing.

The Left parties have already announced plans to support Patnaik, when he faces a no-confidence motion in the Assembly, after the BJP pulled out from the state government.

The BJP had 30 legislators in the 147 member house.

Patnaik faces a test on the house floor on Wednesday and claims to have support from 76 lawmakers, including that of the JMM, Left parties and most significantly,the Nationalist Congress Party, a key ally in the Congress-led alliance at the Center.

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