BHUBANESWAR: Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan on Friday ridiculed Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for his statement on women empowerment and alleged that the BJD president is ‘anti-women’.
Pradhan was reacting to a message from the CM on Thursday in which he said women empowerment is the real ‘double engine’ for growth and development of the country. Naveen had criticised the BJP and Congress for not giving adequate representation to women in decision making bodies and cited the example of BJD which has fielded 33 per cent women candidates in the Lok Sabha polls.
The CM said success of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel is a symbol of women empowerment.
Justifying his allegation against the CM, Pradhan referred to the renomination of former minister Pradip Maharathy, who was dropped from the Cabinet for his anti-women remarks, from Pipili Assembly constituency. The Union Minister alleged that BJD has also fielded a candidate from one of the Bhubaneswar Assembly seats who had similar charges against him.
A woman attempted self-immolation in front of the CM’s residence two days back opposing candidature of a leader who allegedly physically abused her. “These instances show the style of women empowerment in Odisha,” Pradhan said in the statement and added that a minor rape victim girl at Kunduli in Koraput district committed suicide as she did not get justice.
He said women and children in 25 districts of Odisha are malnourished and 12 minor girls became pregnant while staying in State-run hostels. Referring to Naveen’s statement where he named Arden and Merkel, the Union Minister said, “Had the Chief Minister taken names of Union Ministers like Sushma Swaraj and Nirmala Sitharaman, the women of India and Odisha would have got inspiration.”
Pradhan claimed these two Union ministers have emerged as symbol of women empowerment across the world. Claiming that Naveen is afraid of the growing popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Odisha, he said, “You may indulge in propaganda against Modi, but the people of Odisha have this time decided to ensure a ‘double engine’ Government in the State.”