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Naveen Patnaik rules out joining NDA, demands special status for Odisha

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who met Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking special category status for his state, on Monday ruled out joining the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

After his meeting with the Prime Minister, BJD chief said, “We just met the PM, brought out a number of demands for Odisha, especially special status and mineral royalty. The PM was quite positive to our demands. We didn’t discuss joining NDA.”

Patnaik was accompanied by all 24 MPs belonging to his party when he met Modi for the first time today after the regime change at the Centre.

Ahead of his meeting, the Odisha CM had told that he has no intention to join the BJP-led NDA government headed by Narendra Modi.

“There is no thought of BJD joining NDA,” Patnaik said.

“Yes, I will be discussing demand for special category status for Odisha and issues like mineral royalty,” said the Odisha Chief Minister.

“Will be positive towards Central Government, hope they will respond to the just demands of Odisha,” the BJD chief said.

The BJD won 20 of the 21 seats from Odisha in the Lok Sabha polls. It has another four members in the Rajya Sabha.

Modi, 63, was sworn in as the country’s 15th Prime Minister on May 26, and has, since then, been meeting chief ministers, governors and other functionaries. Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa will be meeting him on Tuesday.

Patnaik, who was last month sworn in as the chief minister of Odisha for the fourth consecutive term, has been exerting pressure on the Centre to accede to his demand for including Odisha in the category of special category states. In 2011, he had written a letter to the then Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, to press for the acceptance of his demand.

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