Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday rubbished speculations of the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) striking an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)."That is not correct. We remain equi-distant from the BJP as well as the Congress," the Chief Minister told media persons here after returning from Delhi.The meeting between Patnaik and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi on Wednesday had triggered speculations that the two leaders might have discussed on a possible alliance ahead of the 2019 polls."During my visit to Delhi, I met the Prime Minister and presented a copy of the book 'The Tall Man Biju Patnaik'," said the Chief Minister.He also rubbished media speculations that the BJD would play a pivotal role in national politics in the coming days."BJD is concentrating on its good work for Odisha," he added.Patnaik also dismissed talks of opposition leader Narasingha Mishra joining the BJD, as did Bhupinder Singh. He clarified that his talks with Mishra was barely for five minutes before the Hockey India function and revolved around the event.
The Chief Minister also reiterated his government's commitment for a free and fair probe into the gang rape and suicide of a minor girl in Koraput district."We always want a free and fair investigation. The state government is moving the Orissa High Court (with a request) to monitor the probe by a special investigation team (SIT). We want justice in the case at the earliest," said Patnaik.Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Friday transferred the case over minor girl's gang rape and suicide to the Orissa High Court for hearing after the victim's brother filed a petition appealing for a CBI probe into the incident.Several public interest litigations have also been filed in the Orrisa High Court in this regard.