NEW DELHI: The BJP on Friday attributed the near nine-fold increase in strength in the local body elections in Odisha to the poor backing of Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the November 8 announcement of demonetisation.
Recalling the Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s rhetoric of becoming “soldier of the tribals”, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said that the “spectacular victory of the BJP in the poorest districts of the country in the KBK (Koraput, Bolangir, Malkangiri, Kalahandi) clearly point out the fact that the poor people are with the Modi government after the demonetisation decision and have rejected the Congress totally”.
“Rahul Gandhi duped people in Odisha. He did nothing for the poor despite making promises when the UPA was in power,” said Pradhan, who added that the BJP's tally shot up to 306 this time from 36 in 2012, while the Congress slumped from 126 to 66. “The ruling BJD also saw a sharp fall in its tally from 651 to 460. Elections were held in 849 seats,” said Pradhan.
The minister said that BJP's win was particularly impressive in places like Kalahandi, Balangir, Naxal-hit Malkangiri and Mayurbhanj where the party won 34 out of 36, 24 of 34, 10 of 15 and 49 of 56 seats, respectively.
“Rahul Gandhi had visited Kalahandi in 2008 and promised people he would be their soldier in Delhi and in 2015 he went on a foot march in Bargarh,” he added.
The minister attributed the BJP success to the Prime Minister visiting the state three times last year in connection with launching central projects, including crop insurance scheme.