Naveen congratulates Modi, Jaitley for BJP's victory

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley over BJP's victory in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections.

Patnaik's party - the Biju Janata Dal is at logger heads with the BJP over several issues like the Mahanadi river water dispute with Chhattisgarh, MSP on paddy and the Polavaram project. Patnaik has himself earlier criticised the two national parties - the BJP and Congress.

Patnaik's greetings to the BJP is considered politically significant as the BJD has been facing stiff opposition from the saffron party in the state which will go to polls in 2019 along with the Lok Sabha elections.

"Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik spoke to Prime Minister and Union Finance Minister over phone and congratulated them for Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh victory," a communication received from the Chief Minister's Office said here.

The BJD is in power in Odisha since 2000 and has won four successive elections. The opposition BJP, which has only 10 MLAs in the 147 member Odisha Assembly, has set a target of 120 plus seats in the 2019 elections.

The saffron party enhanced its stake in the state's politics by winning 297 Zilla Parishad seats in the 2017 rural polls from its earlier tally of just 36 ZP seats in the 2012 panchayat polls.

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