Bhubaneswar: As he headed for an unprecedented fifth term in power in Odisha, Biju Janata Dal (BJD) supremo and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik called Prime Minister Narendra Modi and congratulated him for BJP’s landslide victory, putting aside the bitterness that pervaded the two leaders’ relations during their blistering campaigns.
It was Modi who first sent out a tweet congratulating Patnaik on his regional party’s outstanding performance in the state’s Assembly polls. “Congratulations to Naveen Babu for yet another victory in Odisha. Wishing him the very best for the next term,” wrote the PM. He also wrote the same message in Odia in the same tweet.
Patnaik reciprocated by making a phone call to Modi to congratulate him. He then tweeted a congratulatory message for the PM both in English and Odia. “Thank you PM @narendramodi ji for your wishes on @bjd_odisha’s spectacular performance in #OdishaElections2019. Congratulate #NDA and @BJP4India for the huge victory in #LokSabhaElections2019. Look forward to working together for the people of #Odisha,” wrote Patnaik, who is all set to become chief minister for the fifth term, which makes him only the third CM in the country to do so.
During the campaigns, especially before the fourth and the final phase of polls, Modi and Patnaik had engaged in a bitter exchange of tirades at each other. At a campaign rally in coastal Odisha, Modi had said that Patnaik was on his way out and no one can save his government.
“Naveen Babu, you are on your way out. Odisha’s people are ready to drive you out in a mood of anger. Now it is impossible for you to save yourself… Odisha’s people have decided to put a double engine in Delhi and Bhubaneswar,” the PM had said at his well-attended rallies. “No matter how much effort BJD may put, it cannot stop Odisha from getting the double engine of lotus brand,” Modi had added.
Patnaik hit back at the PM the next day, saying at a rally: “The prime minister said yesterday that he would visit Odisha next after the BJD government is ousted from the state in these polls. With the third phase of polls now over, BJD has already got a majority in Odisha with the blessings of the state’s people… I humbly invite Modijee to take part as a guest in the BJD government’s oath-taking ceremony”.
Speaking to News18 after BJD’s massive win in the Assembly polls and an impressive showing in the Lok Sabha polls, Patnaik said: “I express my deep gratitude to the people of the state for having showered their blessings for us time and time again. I thank workers and leaders of BJD for their hard work during their campaigns. I also thank the women of Odisha who came out in such large numbers to vote for us”.
When asked to spell out the secret of BJD’s continuous electoral success, Patnaik said: “I put it down to the excellent welfare and development programs for people who have been less prosperous”.