Accusing the BJD government in Odisha of hijacking the credit for the work done through the welfare programmes of UPA government, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi claimed the state is ruled by "mine mafia" and not by the people's representatives.
"The state government is run by the mine mafia and not by leaders. Valuable minerals worth thousands of crore rupees are looted and state government is aware about it," Gandhi alleged at a public meeting at Semiliguda in the tribal-dominated Koraput district.
"Though the Centre sends thousands of crores for the welfare of tribals, the amount is not reaching the beneficiaries at the village level. The state government is diverting central funds and taking credit without any justification," he said.
While a handful of mafia loot mineral resources of Odisha and become rich, the poor and tribal people do not get any benefit, Gandhi said.
In contrast, the Centre has set up a large number of institutes, medical colleges and hospitals for the betterment of the people, he said.
Highlighting the Congress party's concern for the poor and tribal people, Rahul Gandhi said his family had long-standing bond with the tribals and "I love to be in the midst of tribal people."
Recalling that Rajiv Gandhi had also visited the area, Gandhi said he would continue to fight for the cause of tribals.
The Congress vice-president claimed that it was he who stood by the agitating tribals of Kalahandi and saved Niyamgiri Hills.
Strongly opposing displacement of people for various projects without offering adequate compensation, Gandhi said Congress would strive for safeguarding the interests of the poor and underprivileged.
Hitting out at the state government, Rahul accused it of being insensitive towards the poor and said it was unfortunate that Food Security Act was not implemented in the state.
He also raised corruption issues like chit fund scam and alleged that the ruling BJD leaders were behind the ponzi companies which duped the poor and innocent investors in the state.