Bhubaneswar, May 25 (PTI) Ruling Biju Janata Dal president and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today said it was his party’s stand to maintain equi-distance from both BJP and the Congress. Also Read - Karnataka Agriculture Minister Takes COVID-19 Vaccine at Home, Centre Seeks Report

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Rejecting the allegation, Patnaik said “That (possible alliance with Congress) is incorrect and baseless.” “You can be sure that within our party, we keep equi-distance from both the BJP and the Congress,” he told reporters here. Also Read - Karnataka Man Strangles Leopard to Death in Battle of Survival, Hailed as Real Life George Kutty

As part of BJD’s equi-distance policy, Patnaik did not attend the swearing-in ceremony of Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy despite invitations by former prime minister H D Deve Gowda.

Since the Congress was part of the government headed by Kumaraswamy, the chief minister preferred not to attend the swearing in ceremony held in Bengaluru, a BJD spokesman said.

Asked whether BJP has gathered strength in Odisha as it will be holding a rally in Cuttack tomorrow to mark the completion of four years in power at the Centre, Patnaik replied curtly “I do not think so.”

Two senior Odisha Congress leaders – Bhakta Charan Das and Sarat Rout had stated after the Karnataka assembly polls that the party may not hesitate to hold BJD’s hands in the event of a hung assembly in Odisha after 2019 elections.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.