Bhubaneswar: With BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik hinting at extending support to the proposed Third Front in the 2014 general elections, leaders of the ruling party on Thursday claimed the Odisha Chief Minister would play a key role in government formation at the Centre.
"BJD will play a key role in government formation at the Centre after the 2014 elections," BJD vice-president and state minister Damodar Rout said told a gathering here to celebrate the 17th foundation day of the regional outfit.
While claiming Patnaik was the undisputed leader of the BJD, Rout said, "There is only one party in Odisha and that is BJD and one leader, Naveen Patnaik."
Highlighting the importance of Patnaik in national politics, another vice-president and state Finance Minister Prasanna Acharya said regional parties like BJD would have key roles to play in government formation at the Centre after the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Naveen would break the record of Jyoti Basu, who served as the Chief Minister of West Bengal from 1977 to 2000, making him the longest-serving Chief Minister of any state, Acharya said.
"Since no national party will get an absolute majority in the general elections, BJD and other regional parties, will decide the fate of the country. Odisha will play a pivotal role in India`s development. We will control Delhi and not live at its mercy," he said.
In his speech, former finance minister Prafulla Ghadei expressed surprise at critics claiming that the state had not made much progress during the BJD regime.
While the total plan outlay stood at Rs 2,100 crore when Naveen assumed charge as the Chief Minister in 2000, it had now reached Rs 21,000 crore, he said.
"The state`s growth rate is now at 9.8 per cent, which is been much higher than the national average. The ratio can go up if the Centre fulfils Odisha`s genuine rights," Ghadei said.
Senior BJD leaders, ministers, MLAs, MPs and party activists gathered at the party headquarters here in large numbers to celebrate the occasion.