Rahul Gandhi today targeted Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, accusing the BJD government of corruption, misuse of central funds, and siding with the mining mafia in the mineral-rich state.
Hitting back at Patnaik for calling Congress "corrupt", Gandhi said it is BJD which is responsible for a series of scams in the state.
"The funds given to Odisha for welfare schemes do not reach beneficiaries. Most of the money is being misappropriated mid way," he said.
The Congress Vice President trained his guns at Patnaik during a party rally at Bhatapada village near Salipur town in Cuttack district.
"There has been massive loot of iron ore and manganese from the state. A handful of people have been benefited from the mining loot while people are suffering here," he said.
Patnaik had termed Congress as "corrupt" and BJP as "communal" during a programme held to celebrate the foundation day of his party on December 26 last.
"While Odisha is amir (rich), its people are garib (poor)," he said, adding Centre's funds to the state were being diverted and misappropriated.
Attacking BJD over frequent complaints of "central negligence", he claimed the UPA government at the Centre had provided maximum funds for the state's development.
"No previous government had ever given such a huge amount of money for the state. I am told Rs 5,000 crore is still lying unspent here," he said.
"Your money earned from coal, iron ore, manganese and different minerals are going to others' pockets, while the state government is unable to run schools and hospitals. About 3,500 farmers have committed suicide in Odisha and above 10 lakh youths could not be given employment," he said and urged the people to "oust the BJD government to ensure a speedy development of the state".
Alleging that BJD government had failed to implement welfare schemes, he said though the Centre allots money to the state for mid-day-meal scheme, "the funds go to fill others' bellies."
"This government has even diverted the rice meant for BPL families," he alleged, adding the benefits do not reach the people because of corruption and misutilisation of funds by it.
Gandhi also attacked BJD over the Niyamgiri mining controversy as well.
"We have fought for the tribals of Niyamgiri," Gandhi said, while raising the tribal community's protest against Vedanta Group's proposed alumina refinery plant in the Niyamgiri hills.