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BJD to Support Gopalkrishna Gandhi in VP Election: Naveen Patnaik

Though the regional party supported NDA's candidate Ram Nath Kovind in the presidential election, polling for which was held yesterday, it preferred to go with the opposition's pick for vice president.

PTI

Updated:July 18, 2017, 10:43 PM IST
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BJD to Support Gopalkrishna Gandhi in VP Election: Naveen Patnaik
File image of Naveen Patnaik. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
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Bhubaneswar: Biju Janata Dal president Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday announced his party's support to Gopalkrishna Gandhi, the opposition's candidate for the vice-presidential election.

Though the regional party supported NDA's candidate Ram Nath Kovind in the presidential election, polling for which was held yesterday, it preferred to go with the opposition's pick for vice president.

"The Biju Janata Dal will support Gandhi in the vice- presidential elections," the Odisha chief minister told reporters here.

Patnaik's decision has brought cheers in the BJD rank and file which was feeling "uncomfortable" with supporting the NDA candidate in the presidential elections.

"Very happy & totally support my leader Sri @Naveen_Odisha on his decision of @bjd_odisha supporting Sri Gopal Gandhi as VP," BJD's Dhenkanal MP Tathagat Satpathy tweeted.

BJD parliamentary party spokesman Kalikesh Singhdeo said, "Patnaik has proved that the BJD has been maintaining equal distance from the Congress and the BJP."

Patnaik had in 2012 said Gandhi was an "old and valued friend. We were friends even when I was not in politics".

Meanwhile, the Congress welcomed Patnaik's decision to support Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and C Rajagopalachari.

"We welcome Patnaik's decision to support Gandhi. But, do not accept his support to Kovind following a simple phone call from the prime minister," said the Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra said.

The Bharatiya Janata Party, which was all in praise for Patnaik after BJD supported Kovind, however, has accused the BJD of having a "tacit deal" with the Congress.

"Patnaik has supported Gandhi who signed the mercy plea of terror convict Yakub Memon. The support of BJD to a Congress candidate shows a tacit deal between them," said state BJP president Basanta Panda.

| Edited by: Ashish Yechury
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