The move by the BJD, which has 19 members in Lok Sabha, has also sent a message to the Opposition.
Giving a strong message to the Opposition, Biju Janata Dal members staged a walk out even before the debate on no confidence motion against the Narendra Modi government could begin in Lok Sabha.
The BJD has carefully maintained its distance from both Opposition and the government camps. In keeping with its free agent image, the party decided to not to participate in Friday’s debate. It has not supported or participated in any of the opposition programmes.
Before leaving the House, floor leader Bhartruhari Mahtab said that neither the 10 years of Congress-led UPA government nor the 4 years of NDA rule benefited Odisha. He said that since this debate was not relevant to their state and its people, they saw little point in participating in it.
In the run-up to the no trust motion, the Congress had opened a line of communication with the BJD. Odisha has many raging dispute with its neighbour Andhra Pradesh — from river water disputes to Kolab power project. And supporting the Telugu Desam Partycould have been construed as conceding the state’s own interest.
BJP’s rising stakes in Odisha
The BJD is equally wary of Amit Shah-led BJP, which has been steadily increasing its footprint in the state, slowly trying to push the lead opposition party Congress to the third rung. In the last Assembly elections in 2014, the BJP 18% vote share. And in Lok Sabha polls, held simultaneously, BJP got 21% voteshare and they were in second position in 13 seats out of the 21 Lok Sabha seats.
Their walking out however is a stronger signal to the opposition since they effectively now have reduced the strength of the house. Had they abstained their numbers would have been counted.
With this move Odisha Chief Minister M Naveen Patnaik has clearly indicated that he will not he part of any opposition front, at least for now.
The BJD has 19 members in Lok Sabha after resignation of its member Jay Panda.
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