In a very new kind of arrangement with Ama Odisha Party (AOP), the regional outfit Utkal Bharat (UB) headed by Kharavel Swain has decided to fight under the AOP banner and symbol in the coming elections. Both parties have decided to field candidates in all 147 Assembly seats and 21 Lok Sabha seats.
“AOP and Utkal Bharat will contest under the leadership of Soumya Ranjan Patnaik and one symbol will be used that is the ‘pot’ poll symbol of AOP. One symbol will help during the electioneering process and can be better identified,” said Kharavela Swain, president of Utkal Bharat at a joint press conference with AOP president Soumya Ranjan Patnaik.
Patnaik said the new arrangement will provide a viable alternative to the people of Odisha since both the opposition parties, the Congress and BJP, have failed to put up an effective fight against the corrupt BJD government. Patnaik said the new alliance which will field candidates in all Assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies hopes to emerge as an alternative to the ruling Biju Janata Dal.
Both the leaders urged all anti-BJD forces to come together and join hands with them to fight the BJD party, which has failed to put Odisha on the development track despite making tall claims over the last 14 years. Replying to a media query on the alliance with BJP, UB supremo Kharavela Swain said that even though they were prepared to forge an alliance with the national party, it was betrayal on the part of the BJP that came in the way.
“We were ready to have alliance with BJP. But it has betrayed us. First they asked us to wait, but declared their candidates unilaterally without consulting us. The possibility of building a grand alliance is now a thing of the past,” said the Utkal Bharat president.