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BJD snubs Gowda; denies joining Third Front
Bangalore, Mar 10 (Agencies):
Published on 11 Mar. 2009 12:58 AM IST
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The BJD is keeping everyone guessing over which political front it will join for elections. JDS chief H D Deve Gowda, who is playing a significant role to cobble up a Third Front, today claimed the Naveen Patnaik-led BJD, which recently snapped ties with the BJP, has agreed to join the Front. “I have spoken to (Orissa Chief Minister) Naveen Patnaik and he has agreed to join the Third Front unconditionally,” Gowda told reporters here. However, the BJD denied any such move. “I heard Gowda-ji on TV. But as of now, we are not committed to joining any front or alliance,” BJD spokesperson Damodar Rout told agencies by telephone from Orissa capital Bhubaneswar. “We have not taken up the issue at all. As chief spokesperson of the BJD, I am saying we are not committed to any front at this time,” he asserted. Asked if this meant there was a possibility of the BJD returning to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), Rout said: “At present, we are neihter with NDA nor committed to any front.” “We are a regional party. There can be seat adjustments with like-minded, secular parties. We are now busy preparing for the trust vote tomorrow which we will definitely win. After that we will discuss all issues,” Rout said. Asked if he had discussed the matter with BJD leader and Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, he said: “Yes, Naveen Patnaik said the BJD is not committed to any front at this time.” Patnaik is seeking the trust vote in the assembly Wednesday following the withdrawal of support to his ministry by the BJP. After BJD ended its almost decade-long alliance with BJP in Orissa, Left and other partners of the ‘Third Front’ are making overtures to Patnaik to join the non-Congress non-BJP formation. Deve Gowda earlier told reporters here: “I talked to Naveen Patnaik this morning. He told me that ‘after the trust vote, certainly I am going to join the Third Front. There is no condition’.” Deve Gowda predicted major political developments at the national level by April 16, when the voting begins in the five-phase Lok Sabha polls.

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