NEW DELHI: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has told a television channel that he had “always considered the BJP as a communal party.” Between 1998 and 2009, his Biju Janata Dal (BJD) was an alliance partner of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government. “They (the BJP) were less so (communal) earlier,” Naveen Patnaik said on the previous partnership. He said he discovered the BJP’s “true colours” after communal violence erupted in Kandhamal region in 2009, over which he ended his ties with the BJP. The riots, which broke out in the aftermath of the killing of a Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader, saw local Christians being targeted by mobs. Though no longer a formal member of the NDA, the BJD has lent tacit support to the BJP-led government at the Centre and is expected to be one of the regional parties that the BJP might turn to, should it fall short of numbers.