Split with BJD unfortunate: BJP

New Delhi, March 8 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Sunday described the Biju Janata Dal’s (BJD) “unilateral decision” to call off their 11-year-old ties as “most unfortunate” and said it would now contest all the Lok Sabha and assembly seats in Orissa on its own.

“This decision is a gross betrayal of the trust reposed by people of Orissa in the alliance for over a decade. The BJP had strictly adhered to the letter and spirit of the ‘coalition dharma’ throughout this period and stood solidly behind (Chief Minister Naveen) Patnaik in all his political difficulties,” the BJP said in a late evening statement issued here.

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The statement came after an hours long meeting of top BJP leaders at the residence of senior BJP leader L.K. Advani’s house here.

Ahead of the meeting, party strategist and vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told IANS that the party was hopeful that the alliance would not break off.

The BJP, which tried hard Saturday to prevent BJD chief Patnaik from taking the drastic step, said: “The BJP has remained steadfast in its commitment to the alliance. But it appears that Left parties and others day-dreaming about their post-election prospects in Delhi have misled Patnaik with the help of some of the chief minister’s controversial advisers.”

The party said: “In the process, the extraordinary anti-Congress legacy of Orissa has been betrayed. Although the state’s moribund Congress party is elated by this development, its jubilation will be short-lived. The BJP pledges to resolutely carry forward the anti-Congress legacy to serve the people of Orissa. It will contest all 21 Lok Sabha and 147 assembly seats.”

The party claimed that its government under the leadership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee had initiated many steps to alleviate the poverty and underdevelopment in Orissa, where the conditions have “dramatically improved”.