Ruling Alliance Collapses in Orissa, BJP Calls for President’s Rule

Reality hit the NDA, and hit it hard on Saturday with one of its oldest constituents – the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) – deciding to part ways with the Bharatiya Janata Party, after seat sharing talks between the two partners failed to resolve differences between them. The BJP later withdrew support from the Naveen Patnaik government in Orissa and called for President’s rule to be imposed in the state.

The withdrawal of support by the BJP relegates the Patnaik government to a minority.

The 11 year old alliance between the regional BJD, led by Orissa Chief Minister Navin Patnaik, and the BJP was brought forth by the failure of seat sharing discussions held between the two parties.

BJP Rajya Sabha MP and LK Advani confidante, Chandan Mitra, met Patnaik to resolve the issue, but the fence-mending effort failed to bring a consensus between the partners.

While the BJD was seeking a larger share of Lok Sabha and Assembly seats in Orissa, the BJP, however, refused to accommodate the demand, which would have reduced its share of seats.

Though, indications of a widening rift, between the two parties, were visible for months now, the final call, on the matter, was taken a day after CPI(M) leader and politburo member, Sitaram Yechuri, invited the BJD to join the third front.

Senior BJD leaders, while confirming the break-up with the BJP said the party would now go it alone in the twin elections Orissa faces, the party in all likelihood will enter a seat sharing pact with the left parties.

Ahead of the election season the BJD had been pushing forth with its demands to contest at least a hundred of the total 147 Assembly seats in the state.

The BJD had contested 84 Assembly segments while the BJP accounted for 63 seats in the 2000 and 2004 elections to the state Assembly.

The BJD also had the lion’s share of the state’s parliamentary constituencies as it contested 12 segments while BJP fought on nine.

The collapse of seat sharing talks also sounded the knell for the BJD-BJP alliance government in the state.

The BJD has 61 members in the state Assembly while the BJP accounts for 30, with the government in a minority and elections looming, the state may well see huge political changes over the next few days.

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