Reaffirms stand of keeping equal distance from Cong & BJP
STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE
Bhubaneswar, 4 October
Reaffirming his political stand of maintaining equi-distance from the Congress and the BJP, Chief minister Naveen Patnaik today said he is ‘uncomfortable with the idea of Narendra Modi’ as a prime ministerial candidate.
Significantly, the Chief Minister disagreed with the view that the next elections will be a personality based one between Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi.
It will be fought on the basis of ideologies rather than personalities, said Mr Naveen Patnaik while replying to questions at the conclusion of the Odisha Literary Festival here today.
He ruled out revival of his party&’s alliance with the BJP.  It may be noted that a couple of months ago , Mr Patnaik had categorically said Modi was ‘unacceptable’ as a national leader. He went on to underline the secular credentials of the Biju Janata Dal. The Chief Minister , continued to be non committal on any proposed Third Front or Federal Front. It is still early days to talk of such a front, though it is certainly a healthy alternative, he said.
 The Chief Minister&’s remarks on the political equations assume significance as it comes barely hours after Union Minister of State Mr Sashi Tharoor had met him and discussed the political situation in the country.
Tharoor, in an interview to a local television channel, said that the doors are open for secular people like Naveen Patnaik. He had also underlined the point that ideologically there is not much of a fundamental difference between the Congress and the BJD. There are many in the Congress who have a great deal of respect for Naveen Patnaik, said Tharoor.
Answering a wide range of questions on pre and post poll situations, Mr Patnaik refrained from any speculation. He held the view that one needs to wait for the results and the numbers and then take a call before adding in the same breadth that his party is committed to secularism..
Interestingly, Mr Patnaik did not criticize Rahul Gandhi&’s remarks on the controversial Ordinance. He supported the withdrawal of the ordinance. Mr Patnaik also refused to be drawn into whether the entire development had demeaned the office of the Prime Minister and the central cabinet.
The CM pointed out that the BJD had opposed the Ordinance much before the BJP or anyone in the Congress had done so.
Mr Patnaik expressed confidence over the investments that the state had attracted. The Dhamra Port, Tata Steel were projects that he mentioned before adding that the Posco steel plant will be on track soon. He said the pull out by Arcelor Mittal has not affected the investment climate in the state.