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Naveen faces tough seat sharing talks with new ‘friends’

After snapping ties with BJP,the BJD now faces tough negotiations with its new political friends who are likely to demand a major share of the assembly and LS seats.

Written by Agencies | Bhubaneswar |
March 19, 2009 4:11:46 pm

After snapping its 11-year old ties with BJP,the BJD now faces tough negotiations with its new political friends who are likely to demand a major share of the 147 assembly seats besides 10 of the 21 Lok Sabha seats in Orissa.

The BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik has already indicated that it would enter into seat sharing pacts with the party’s new allies – CPI,CPI(M),JMM and NCP. Together these parties now have only eight MLAs and one Lok Sabha member in the state.

The eight MLAs had recently supported the Naveen Patnaik government during the trust vote in the state assembly after BJP withdrew its support.

BJD sources said that the party is willing to give only 22 assembly seats to these parties while keeping 125 seats for its own candidates. But respective party sources indicated that the JMM was preparing to contest 30 seats,the NCP 62 seats and the CPI(M) 22 seats.

With regard to parliamentary elections,BJD sources said the party would not spare more than three Lok Sabha seats to its “friends”,who together are expecting as many as 10.

“We were preparing to field candidates in at least 30 assembly seats and two Lok Sabha segments. Now with changed political scenario,the party is not sure in how many seats it would put up candidates,” JMM state unit president Sudam Marandi said.

Marandi said his party would demand Mayurbhanj and Sundargarh Lok Sabha seats during seat-sharing talks. Marandi is the sitting MP of Mayurbhanj constituency.

NCP,which had two MLAs in the assembly,was preparing to field candidates in 62 assembly segments and six Lok Sabha seats on its own,said party leader Amar Satpathy.

The party was still in the dark as to whether it would get the required number of seats in the event NCP entered into seat sharing with BJD,he said.

Similarly,CPI(M) also expected 22 assembly seats and two Lok Sabha seats.

“The CPI will start talks with the BJD on seat sharing soon,” CPI General Secretary A B Bardhan had said after meeting Patnaik here last week. The CPI,however,has not yet spelt out how many assembly and Lok Sabha seats they were looking at.

Together the four parties were preparing for more than 100 assembly seats and 10 Lok Sabha seats.

In the event of seat sharing,the BJD,therefore,would clearly have a tough time beating down these expectations to a level that would be acceptable to these parties.

With the elections approaching fast,the parties,waiting to start seat sharing talks,were getting impatient,sources said.

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