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Patnaik to seek trust vote on March 11
CPM, CPI, NCP, JMM decide to bail out Orissa govt

Bhubaneswar, March 8
Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was today directed by Governor MC Bhandare to prove his majority on the floor of the Assembly on March 11 after his coalition government was reduced to a minority following BJP's withdrawal of support ending their 11-year-old alliance.

Significantly, the CPM, CPI, NCP and the JMM, who together have eight MLAs, have decided to support Patnaik and bail out the government during the floor test. Claiming support of 76 MLAs in a House of 147, two more than the required majority, BJD supremo met Bhandare, who asked him to seek a vote of confidence in a special Assembly session.

“There will be a vote of confidence in the state Assembly on March 11 during a special session," Patnaik told reporters after meeting the Governor along with a major section of his supporting MLAs, a day after BJD and the BJP parted ways.

Four MLAs, one each from the CPM, CPI and two of the NCP; four from JMM and seven Independents accompanied the Chief Minister and extended their support to the government, BJD sources said.

Meanwhile, BJD and BJP indulged in blame game for the demise of their alliance. Patnaik said the BJP stood for the “principle of winnability” after the two sides failed to agree on sharing of seats. “I assure all of you that there are more than 74 MLAs with us,” Patnaik said.

A shocked BJP chief Rajnath Singh today said that he could not “ever imagine” that Naveen Patnaik-led party would snap the 11-year-old ties with the saffron party, which is now working on a fresh strategy ahead of the polls. “I feel it is unfortunate. We could not ever imagine that the BJP-BJD alliance will break down,” Singh said in New Delhi.

The saffron party accused the BJD of unilaterally breaking the alliance ahead of the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in the state. “It was a decision of the BJD to break the alliance. Our party leaders are meeting to chalk out the future course of action,” the BJP leader said.

“We had formed the alliance to stop Congress and other parties from taking advantage of the situation. But that could not succeed,” Patnaik said.

Hitting back, BJP leaders blamed Patnaik for collapse of the partnership. BJP Rajya Sabha member and LK Advani’s emmisary to Orissa Chandan Mitra denounced Patnaik’s “unilateral” announcement regarding breaking of the alliance.

“We have not broken the alliance, it is Naveen Patnaik who announced on his own”, senior BJP leader Bishwabhusan Harichandan said.

Mitra, however, said seat-sharing formula was certainly one the prime factors behind the development. — PTI

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