Bhubaneswar: Although there was no formal announcement regarding a pre-poll alliance between the ruling BJD and the Opposition BJP in Odisha, leaders from both parties hinted at a mutual tie-up before the Lok Sabha and assembly elections.

While BJD leaders held a marathon meeting at Naveen Niwas, the residence of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, here on Wednesday, the BJP leaders had a similar meeting in the national capital, discussing election matters, including a potential alliance.

After over three hours of discussion, BJD vice-president and MLA Debi Prasad Mishra acknowledged discussions about a possible alliance with the BJP but did not explicitly confirm its formation.

“Biju Janata Dal will prioritise the greater interests of the people of Odisha. Yes, there were discussions on the issue (alliance),” Mishra told reporters.

Claiming that Odisha had progressed significantly under Naveen Patnaik’s leadership, Mishra emphasised the need to take the state’s development to the next level.

In a press release issued by Mishra and BJD’s senior general secretary Arun Kumar Sahoo, it was stated, “An extensive discussion was held under the leadership of BJD president and CM Naveen Patnaik with the senior leaders of the party today regarding the strategy of the upcoming Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections.”

Meanwhile, after a meeting presided over by BJP president JP Nadda in Delhi, senior BJP leader and MP Jual Oram admitted to discussions on a pre-poll alliance with the BJD. However, he said the party’s central leadership would make the final decision on the matter.

“Yes, there were discussions on the alliance among other issues. The party’s central leadership will make the final call,” Oram, who personally opposed the alliance, said.

Top leaders of the state including Odisha BJP president Manmohan Samal, and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, attended the core committee meeting chaired by Nadda.

Both parties had previously rejected media reports about a potential pre-poll alliance on February 29.

BJD national spokesperson Sasmit Patra and BJP’s Odisha election in-charge Vijay Pal Singh Tomar had dismissed the reports as rumours.

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