BHUBANESWAR: A day after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced a bouquet of sops to woo female voters who constitute nearly 50 per cent of the total population of the State, the BJP asked the ruling BJD to give an account of its achievements in empowering women.
“Instead of telling what his party is going to do for women in next five years if it returns to power, the Chief Minister must explain what he has done in the last 19 years,” Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said at a press conference here on Tuesday. Stating that the announcement by Naveen on Monday was similar to what BJP has promised to voters, he said the ruling party’s assurance to provide Government works worth `5,000 crore to women self help groups (SHGs) in next five years is another false promise.
“Who is going to believe the Chief Minister when his Government did nothing to make the women SHGs self-reliant in the last 19 years?” he wondered. Citing examples of SHG movements in States like Gujarat where women entrepreneurs have successfully penetrated the global market and are selling their products by using modern technology, the Union Minister said the State Government has failed to create a viable ecosystem for women SHGs in Odisha despite huge potential and opportunities.
Launching a scathing attack on BJD Government for rise in atrocities on women in the State, the BJP leader said the Chief Minister’s big talk on women’s empowerment does not hold water as his Government has failed to provide security to them. “What is more galling is that instead of punishing the people who committed crimes against women, Naveen has not only protected the offenders but given many of them party tickets in this election. The Pipili gang-rape and murder of a dalit girl is a glaring example,” he said.
While Odisha still tops the list in malnutrition, infant and maternal mortality and institutional delivery is still impossible in many parts of the State. Alleging that corruption has reached its peak during the BJD rule, Pradhan asked Naveen what action has his Government taken to bring people involved in mining, chit fund and coal block allocation scams to book.
Asserting that people have decided to bring BJP into power in the State, he said his party will not spare any scamster if it forms Government in Odisha.