He is also only the third Indian chief minister, after Pawan Kumar Chamling and Jyoti Basu, to be elected to five terms in a row as chief minister of an Indian state. Like Nitish Kumar, Mr. Patnaik, one of the longest-serving chief ministers of any state in the nation, was a previous ally of the BJP. He made an effort to maintain an equal distance from the BJP and the Congress.
After his father, former chief minister Biju Patnaik passed away on April 17, 1997, he entered politics. On December 26 of that same year, he founded his party, the BJD, and established an
alliance with the BJP. In Odisha, the BJD-BJP coalition stormed to victory in March 2000. Nine years
later, in advance of the general and assembly elections in 2009, Naveen broke his links with the BJP and
declared a policy of keeping an equal distance between the party and the Congress. It keeps cordial ties
with whichever party the Centre is led by.
Analysis of Discussion held between PM Narendra Modi and Naveen Patnaik :
Just 48 hours after his meeting with Nitish Kumar, the head of the JD(U) and chief minister of Bihar,
here, BJD president and chief minister of Odisha Naveen Patnaik said, “As far as I am concerned, there is
no chance of a Third Front not right at this moment.
Additionally, the BJD is not expected to alter its posture of keeping a similar distance from both the BJP
and the Congress prior to the general and assembly elections in 2024. The chief minister of Odisha
reiterated on Thursday that his party would contest elections on its own, without fostering any grand
ambitions. Patnaik responded that this has always been his party’s guiding concept when asked if his
party will run unopposed in the upcoming elections.
Topics covered in the meeting
Naveen claimed that during his meeting with the PM, they covered topics pertaining to Odisha’s requests.
“I told him about the upcoming Shri Jagannath International Airport in Puri. The airport’s perimeter has
already been designated. Because of the current excessive traffic in Bhubaneswar, we want to expand.
The PM assured us that he will assist in any manner possible,” added Naveen. The CM, who gets along
well with the PM, offered assistance to the Narendra Modi administration when it passed contentious
laws and conducted presidential elections. In addition, it supported the NDA administration when it came
to issues like demonetisation, the “surgical” strike, and the repeal of Article 370.
According to reports, Nitish Kumar put a focus on personal relationships and told Mr. Patnaik not to
worry about political conversations. Additionally, Mr. Patnaik stated that no alliance-related negotiations
had taken place. In order to be perceived as favourable to any formation at the Centre, Naveen Patnaik
purposefully keeps a distance from all groups, whether they are led by the BJP or the Congress. The fact
that he agreed to meet with Nitish Kumar, with whom he gets along well and who served as his cabinet
counterpart under Atal Bihari Vajpayee, is noteworthy.
What then drives Patnaik’s political actions?
The well-known meeting with Kumar and the subsequent call to Modi. According to sources close to
Patnaik, is still not completely sure that the index of Opposition unity before the general elections
would be successful.
Clearly, the resounding Congress victory in Karnataka will provide the opposition motivation to create
the crucial “mahaul” (climate) that the BJP can be defeated. However, Patnaik has always considered the
BJP to be the primary opposition in his state, taking the place of the Congress in 2019.
Being one of the poorest states in India, Odisha can’t really afford to have a foe at the federal government
when it comes to funding. Thus, Patnaik is not seeking to irritate the BJP excessively before dealing with
a vengeful Centre. Due to his equidistant location, Patnaik has been able to effectively protect himself
from overzealous investigation agencies. Finally, Patnaik hasn’t yet come to the conclusion that the
Opposition can stop Modi from winning a third term, and he doesn’t see the point in supporting a losing
cause. The main reason Patnaik officially ruled out any alliance with the opposition is because of this.
The BJP effectively offered Patnaik the consolation of not exerting himself excessively in the fight for
Odisha as long as he does not form an alliance with the Opposition, which was something Patnaik left
unsaid. The 21 Lok Sabha seats in Odisha are coveted by all parties. Patnaik dominated the state in 2014,
gaining 20 out of the 21 seats. In 2019, the BJP narrowly defeated the BJD, taking nine seats to the BJD’s
twelve. In Odisha, the BJP’s vote share increased from 21.5 to 38%. The Congress in Odisha has
essentially been rendered useless and is hardly even trying to exert any effort in the state.
As 2024 approaches, Kumar faces the difficult task of enlisting the support of local parties that aren’t allied with the opposition. It is difficult for Kumar to enlist the support of these parties in an opposition
alliance, including the BJD, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy and his YSR Congress, K Chandrashekar Rao, and
until recently, AAP.
In light of this, Sharad Pawar’s vow to try to recruit Patnaik in his meeting with Kumar the next day gave
Kumar some solace as he continues to try to get through to Patnaik.