Lok Sabha election 2019: Naveen Patnaik ‘invites’ Modi for swearing-in after PM says BJD exit certain

Odisha chief minister and Biju Janata Dal president Naveen Patnaik extended a polite invitation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday for the swearing-in ceremony of his government after the Lok Sabha election results are decalred on May 23. Odisha, where polling is being held for Assembly as well as Lok Sabha elections in four phases, is among the states where the Bharatiya Janata Party is expecting to improve its tally. BJP would want to win more seats in Odisha to recover losses it may incur in states that it swept in the 2014 general elections. The prime minister said he will visit Odisha after the exit of the BJD government. The BJD has already secured majority in the first three phases. I politely invite Modiji to attend the BJD governments oath-taking ceremony as a guest, Patnaik said. In recent days, PM Modi has sharpened his attack against the Odisha CM. Addressing a rally in Kendrapara on Tuesday, Modi said that Patnaiks exit was certain this time. Naveen babu aapka jana taya hain (Naveen Babu, your exit is certain). Patnaik responded by lashing out at the Prime Minister for ignoring Odisha at the time of floods, drought and cyclones. Now, since the elections are underway, he is frequenting the state to shed crocodile tears, he said. The BJP has emerged as a strong contender against the BJD despite the popularity of Patnaik who is seeking a fifth term in office. A good performance in Odisha may prove crucial for PMs bid to serve a second term if the Lok Sabha election results were to deliver a hung verdict. In the 2014 general elections, the BJD won 10 of the 21 seats while the BJP settled for nine. This time, the BJP is pinning its hopes on states like Odisha and West Bengal to offset any losses in the Hindi heartland, particularly in UP where arch-rivals Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav have combined forces.