BARIPADA: The purpose of getting all the anti-Naveen Patnaik leaders and Biju loyalists on one platform seemed to have failed again, as former Kendrapara MP Baijayant Panda did not attend the meeting.
Though Baijayant was expected to attend the meeting where among others expelled BJD leader Damodar Rout and former MLA Jagneswar Babu were present, the former Kendrapara MP is reported to have changed his mind at the last minute.
Baijayant was present at Balasore, but returned without attending the meeting at Baripada. Office of Baijayant Panda, however, maintained that he had no programme at Baripada on Sunday.Former minister Rout took the centre stage at the meeting by again targeting the Chief Minister and the BJD over the issues of corruption and maladministration. Addressing the meeting organised by Mayurbhanj Working Committee (Mayurbhanj Kriya Anusthan), the former minister alleged that corruption has become a way of functioning of the State Government.
“God will not forgive the Chief Minister for his bad governance during the last 19 years. The tribal-dominated Mayurbhanj district is the worst sufferer of the Government’s maladministration,” he said and added, “The BJD Government has failed to provide land rights to the tribals under Forest Rights Act (FRA).”
Describing the Chief Minister as a corrupt leader, Rout said the Naveen Patnaik Government has become a new place for scamsters. He again raised the issue of `59 crore scam in the purchase of organic fertilisers and `100 crore scam from mass plantation programme in Mayurbhanj district. Rout alleged involvement of a high official of Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) in the scams and said no action has been taken despite several complaints to the Chief Minister.
Rout also raised the issue of deteriorating law and order and rising crime against women. The State Government has also failed to complete the much talked about Subarnarekha irrigation project which would have benefited the farmers of Northern Odisha, he said.
When Rout was addressing the meeting, a youth from the audience asked questions about Baijayant Panda before he was whisked away from the meeting place by the police. Former MLA Jagneswar Babu alleged that the Government is yet to set up 100 sugar mills in the State, which was a dream of Biju Patnaik. He demanded promotion of sugar farming in the State.