Naveen Patnaik with INDIA Bloc! The road ahead for Modi government is not easy in Rajya Sabha

Former Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has taken on a new political role after his party faced defeat against the BJP in Odisha. Patnaik, who was the CM for 24 years, is now the Leader of Opposition in the Odisha Assembly. The BJD, which ruled the state for more than two decades, has made it clear that it will take an aggressive stance against the ruling BJP at both the state and central levels.

For the past decade, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has been known as a ‘trusted unofficial ally’ of the ruling BJP-led NDA government. For the past 10 years, the BJD has consistently supported the BJP, from supporting key legislation and the presidential elections in 2017 and 2022 to backing Union minister Ashwini Vaishnaw’s Rajya Sabha candidature. However, the party has now changed its stance both in Parliament and outside. In this year’s Lok Sabha elections, the BJP secured 20 of the 21 seats while the BJD did not win a single seat, which is the first time since its formation in 1997.

Currently, the BJD has nine seats in the 245-member Rajya Sabha, where the NDA does not have a majority. The BJD has now shown the BJP that the road ahead in the Rajya Sabha is not easy this time. During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reply during the debate on the motion of thanks on the President’s address in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MPs joined the Congress-led opposition members in walking out of the House in protest. This is the second walkout by BJD MPs in a week. On June 28, they also participated in the opposition India Alliance’s protest demanding a discussion on alleged paper leaks and irregularities in exams like NEET and NET.

Recently, BJD supremo and five-time chief minister Naveen Patnaik held a meeting with his party’s Rajya Sabha MPs. He urged them to make every effort to ‘protect the interests of Odisha’ and ensure that the party emerges as a ‘strong and vibrant’ opposition in Parliament. Patnaik has made it clear to the Rajya Sabha MPs that there will no longer be support to the BJP in Parliament. According to BJD sources, the party’s new aggression against the BJP government is part of a ‘well-thought-out strategy’ to regain the trust of the people after recent electoral setbacks.

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