Bhubaneswar: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar arrived in Bhubaneswar accompanied by JD(U) national president Rajiv Ranjan and the party’s general secretary Sanjay Kumar Jha on Tuesday.
Nitish met his Odisha counterpart and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) president Naveen Patnaik at the latter’s residence here today afternoon with a view to strengthening Opposition unity ahead of the 2024 general elections.
The two Chief Ministers delved into an array of issues during their nearly one-hour meeting over lunch.
Following the meeting, the two Chief Ministers briefed the media together. “I am glad that Niitishji is in Bhubaneswar. We are old friends and we discussed several issues,” Naveen said, adding, “We have decided to grant 1.5 acres of land in Puri free of cost to the Bihar government for a guest house so that pilgrims and tourists from Bihar can stay there.”
When asked about their discussions on politics, Odisha Chief Minister said, “Ours is a known friendship and we were colleagues many years ago. No discussion was held on any alliances today.”
On the other hand, Nitish said, “I came here to meet my old friend. I have been close to his father Biju Patnaik and we are close friends. I am happy to meet Naveen Babu after a long time.”
It is worth mentioning here that the Bihar Chief Minister is working to bring the Opposition leaders on a common platform to form a grand opposition alliance against the BJP. He aims to bring all non-NDA parties together.
However, the BJD has been maintaining equidistance from the BJP and Congress. Since 2019, the BJD has skipped all meetings aimed at forging a third front and supported the NDA government at the Centre on almost all issues. In recent times, the BJD and the BJP have adopted aggressive stands towards each other keeping in view the 2024 Assembly elections in Odisha.
Following the meeting, Naveen took to his Twitter handle to write, “Glad to meet #Bihar Chief Minister Shri @NitishKumar in #Bhubaneswar. #Odisha shares a special bond with Bihar and the people of the neighbouring state. Hope he had a pleasant and fruitful stay in Odisha.”