Jual: Pact with BJD 'historic blunder'

Union tribal affairs minister Jual Oram here on Saturday said the BJP's decision to form an alliance with the BJD in 1997 was a "historic blunder" for which the party is still paying the price.


BHUBANESWAR: Union tribal affairs minister Jual Oram here on Saturday said the BJP's decision to form an alliance with the BJD in 1997 was a "historic blunder" for which the party is still paying the price.

It was Jual's second googly against his own party in two days after his Friday remarks of CBI going slow in probing multi-thousand crore chit-fund scam in the state kicked off a political controversy.

Speaking exclusively to TOI, the Union minister said the decision was because of the party's political immaturity. "We did not have the necessary political experience and maturity then. We chose a party whose vote share had sharply fallen to 17%," said Jual, adding that the coalition revived the sinking political force, stifling BJP's growth.

Jual was the state BJP president when a breakaway group of the erstwhile Janata Dal led by Naveen Patnaik formed the BJD and entered into a coalition with the saffron party. Jual said he has never shied away from owning responsibility for the wrong decision taken collectively by the party.



On the timing of his startling revelation, the lone BJP Lok Sabha member from the state said he has held this view since long and people acquainted with him know this.

The BJD dumped the BJP in 2009 ahead of the simultaneous Lok Sabha and assembly elections that year and came to power with absolute majority.

Jual said the BJP would never repeat such a mistake in future. At a time when people have rejected the Congress and the way the BJD is mocking at people's problems, BJP has a bright future here. "I am sure people will accept us," he said.

Jual said Naveen Patnaik became the chief minister "by chance". Reacting to Jual's assessment, BJD parliamentary party leader in the Lok Sabha Bhartruhari Mahtab said it is surprising because Jual had claimed credit, as the sate BJP chief, for the alliance to have materialized. On future possibilities, Mahtab said, "Who knows what will happen in future."
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