Third front alternative to Congress, BJP: Naveen Patnaik

New Delhi, June 11 (IANS) A third front would be an alternative to the BJP and the Congress in the 2014 general elections but it was too early to talk about it, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said Tuesday.

“My party is equidistant from both the BJP and the Congress. The third front will be a healthy alternative, but it is too early to discuss that option. The election is still a year away. Let’s see what pans out,” Patnaik told CNN-IBN news channel in an interview.

He said the elevation of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the party’s 2014 poll campaign in-charge was an “internal matter of the BJP”, but noted that “the minorities will not be happy with this kind of an elevation”.

Patnaik refused to speculate on the subsequent resignation of BJP veteran L.K. Advani from key party posts.

“These events in the BJP are the internal matter of the party, I won’t like to speculate further,” he said.

Patnaik, whose party BJD parted ways with the BJP in 2009, said he would neither join the NDA nor the Congress.

“We will not be a part of the NDA. We are distant from the BJP. (Congress vice president) Rahul Gandhi’s political report card has been dismal in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh,” he said.

When asked about the failure of the third front experiment in the past, he said: “Let’s wait and see. It would be healthy if a federal structure or third front comes to power.”

Patnaik ruled himself out as the leader of the third front.

“I don’t see myself as a potential prime minister. Let’s see what happens after the election,” he said.

Regarding a special status for Odisha, he said: “It is Odisha’s fair demand to get a special category status. We are having a political meeting tomorrow (Wednesday) and after that we will carry one crore signatures of the people of Odisha to the president with a memorandum for that demand.”

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