He advised that the new Janata Dal (United) chief should clarify certain obvious political questions. However, to a question, Mahtab outright rejected the contention that his party BJD often takes a kid-gloves approach towards the Narendra Modi government in Parliament.

"It is too early. The non-BJP front of Nitish Kumar remains a non-starter. And I am not blaming anyone. As things are still premature, Nitish Kumar and his party need to clarify certain things on the broad political ideology and the structure of the proposed alliance," Mahtab said.

He cited the proponents of such a front against the ruling BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi should first spell out "the political ideology, its commitment and basic structures".

"As a regional party going from strength to strength in Odisha, we will be interested to know how Nitish Kumar visualises the front. Whether it will be just an anti-BJP front or it will maintain equi-distance from the Congress also," he said.

Mahtab added, "Bihar Chief Minister needs to clarify this, because he runs a coalition government with the Congress himself". As for BJD, he says, "We can have no truck with either the BJP or the Congress. It is simply because both these national parties are our chief rivals in the state.

"While the Congress is a traditional rival, the BJP came second in 10 parliamentary constituencies in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, he said, adding, "We need to fight both". Moreover, he sought to caution that "the country's electoral political history" is such that "aligning with the Congress has always harmed the regional and smaller parties, and helped the Congress"."

In the 1970s, the Communist Party of India (CPI) aligned with the Congress and was wiped out. I am afraid the Marxists (Communist Party of India-Marxist) have repeated that blunder in West Bengal this year. I do not agree with the argument that Left will benefit and Congress will not," he said, adding, "even in 2009 the Samajwadi Party of Mulayam Singh had suffered a huge setback in Lok Sabha polls after it extended outside support to the Manmohan Singh government on the nuclear deal".

"In Bengal, the Left supported the Manmohan Singh government from 2004 to 2008 and then was humbled both in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls and the 2011 assembly polls. Political observers seem to have bad memories," he said albeit in a lighter vein. Mahtab also suggested that Nitish Kumar should try to reach out to other regional parties.

"So far as I can say, there has been no contact between chief ministers of Odisha and Bihar. There is no formal contact even at other political level," he said.

The Cuttack MP also said Bihar chief minister also needs to clarify "whether his front would favour AIADMK or DMK in Tamil Nadu and similarly either the Samajwadi Party or Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in Uttar Pradesh".

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