14 April 2019
Bhubaneswar: After ruling the state for 19 years at a stretch, there is not an ounce of inhibition in Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik when he says that BJD would 'handsomely' win both Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in 2019.
During an interview with India Today's Consulting Editor Rajdeep Sardesai, Naveen commands confidence when he says that there is no anti-incumbency in Odisha, despite BJD dominating the election results since 2000.
"It is the love and trust of the people of Odisha in BJD," says Naveen when Rajdeep asks him about BJD's secret of success. "We have created SHGs under the Mission Shakti programme which has been a huge success. This has empowered women immensely."
Naveen added that his confidence is backed by "all the good work" and welfare and development projects undertaken by the Government over the past two decades.
Rajdeep asked about much talked about dissidence in the BJD and whether BJP is emerging as a rising force in Odisha. Naveen answered, "The people who left the party (BJD) were those who were denied tickets or suspended."
The election results will reveal that 'brand Modi' will not have any impact in the State, said Naveen when asked about BJP's performance in Odisha.
To Rajdeep's question on which alliance shall BJD support at the Centre, Naveen said, "Whether it’s the NDA or UPA, whichever alliance serves the interests of Odisha better, we would support them."
Naveen revealed that it was on the then Prime Minister IK Gujral's insistence he contested from Aska Parliamentary seat after his father Biju Patnaik's demise. "I am indeed carrying my father's legacy," he added.
To Rajdeep's question that whether he misses Delhi’s opulent lifestyle and if he had any regrets in the second (political) innings of his life, Naveen said that he had no regrets.
"All that is past and I have no regrets. It has been a very very fulfilling career," the Chief Minister said.