Sunday, February 27, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Orissa: BJD, BJP to form govt; Biswal quits

BHUBNESHWAR, Feb 26 (PTI) — The BJD-BJP alliance in Orissa, which swept to a two-thirds majority in the elections to the state assembly, is all set to form the fifth non-Congress government in the state.

Both parties had jointly won 106 of the 147 assembly seats and would be forming a coalition government after a gap of three decades. The last coalition ministry in the state headed by late Biswanath Das, though short-lived, was formed in 1971 by the Swatantra Party and Utkal Congress, a regional party floated by Biju Patnaik.

The BJD, maintaining its excellent form, captured 68 of the 84 seats it contested while its ally the BJP won 38 of the 63 seats it was allotted.

Though the regional party came close to attaining absolute majority on its own, its president, Mr Naveen Patnaik said the two parties would soon form a coalition government to provide clean administration to the people as per the joint manifesto issued by the two outfits.

The Congress, which battled against a popular wave in favour of the alliance in conditions strikingly similar to 1990 when the Janata Dal swept to power, could win only 26 seats.

After results of all the 147 seats were announced this morning, the Chief Minister, Mr Hemananda Biswal drove to Raj Bhawan to submit his resignation to the Governor.

According to a Raj Bhawan communiqué, the Governor had accepted Mr Biswal’s resignation and requested him to continue in office till alternative arrangements were made.

Mr Biswal had succeeded Mr Giridhar Gamang as Chief Minister on December 6 last, following allegations that the government had failed to handle the situation arising out of the October 29 super cyclone.

Meanwhile, hectic confabulations continued in the BJP and BJD camps over the formation of the next government, likely to be headed by Mr Patnaik.

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