"We will have a positive attitude towards the NDA government. The BJD will support the Central government on certain issues in the interest of Odisha and the country. We expect the Centre will reciprocate our stand," Cuttack MP and BJD Parliamentary Party leader in the Lok Sabha, Bhartuhari Mahtab, said.

The decision was taken at a BJD Parliamentary Party meeting presided over by party president Naveen Patnaik.

Reiterating that the BJD would stick to its stand of maintaining equal distance from the BJP and Congress, he said, "We should not hesitate voting against the ruling alliance if something goes against the interests of our state."

To another query, Mahtab said, "The BJD will support any party which raises issues relating to the interest of Odisha."

The BJD's stand of maintaining distance from BJP should not be misunderstood as the BJD MPs would be entering Parliament with a positive mindset, he said.

"We expect the NDA government to appreciate the mood of people in Odisha who have elected 20 BJD representatives to Lok Sabha,” he added.

With 20 MPs, the BJD is fifth largest party in the Lok Sabha.

"We will have a positive outlook towards the central government. However, the party will take an independent stand as far as Odisha's interest is concerned," Kendrapara MP Baijaynt Panda said.

The BJD had severed its 11-year-old alliance with the BJP before 2009 Lok Sabha polls after the collapse of seat-sharing talks between them in Odisha.

Besides electing Mahtab as the BJD's leader in the Lok Sabha, Tathagat Satpathy was named as the party chief whip and Ramchandra Hansda as the BJDPP secretary in the Lower House, BJD president Naveen Patnaik said after the meeting.

Patnaik also announced names of Kalpataru Das as the BJD leader in the Rajya Sabha and Dilip Tirkey as the party's chief whip in the Upper House.

Pinaki Mishra was assigned the job of co-ordination between the BJD's parliamentary parties in the two houses.

Baijayant Panda and Kalikesh Narayan Singhdeo were named as the party spokespersons in Parliament and New Delhi respectively.


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