Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik congratulated JD-S leader H D Kumaraswamy on taking charge of Karnataka’s new chief minister.

He resorted to twitter to convey his congratulations but stayed away from the swearing-in ceremony where several non-BJP CM’s and leaders were present.

While the Congress dubbed this as yet another instance of Patnaik being soft towards the BJP with which he was a partner till 2009, the BJD however rubbished such charges saying Mr Naveen Patnaik had not attended swearing-in ceremonies of others past 18 years which included that of Mamata Banerjee Arvind Kejriwal, Nitish Kumar and so on.

The BJD is committed to maintaining equidistance from both the BJP and the Congress, said the party spokesperson Arun Sahu. Ruling BJD circles note that the CM has nothing to gain or lose by not exposing himself to any side.

In Odisha, the BJD is the number one party and does not feel threatened by either the BJP or the Congress, hence there is no point siding with any front at this juncture.

Mr Patnaik has repeatedly stated that he has no interest in playing a larger role at national politics. Evidently, even the talk of regional parties getting together or protecting the federal polity does not persuade the chief minister to take a stand in confrontation with the BJP as yet.

This stand of remaining non-aligned till the very last also gives an opportunity for post poll bargaining, remarked political circles here.