BHUBANESWAR: Taking a swipe at the double engine narrative of the BJP, Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik on Saturday asked the saffron party to name its chief ministerial candidate and declare from which constituency he is contesting the Assembly polls.
Addressing an election meeting at Daspalla in Nayagarh district, the Chief Minister changed the theme of his speech from the Central apathy and said people of Odisha want to know the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate. “Is the BJP afraid of announcing its chief ministerial candidate?,” he asked.
Targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his team who visited Odisha several times in the run up to the polls without taking names, the Chief Minister said the Delhi engine (meaning the BJP national leadership) arrives and makes a lot of noise during elections, but is nowhere to be seen after that. “But people of Odisha want to know the other engine of BJP,” he said.
BJP’s Odisha face, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had announced that he will not contest the polls. The Chief Minister is, however, contesting the Assembly polls from two seats, Hinjili in Ganjam district and Bijepur in Bargarh district where elections will be held in the second phase on April 18.
Referring to the double engine story of the BJP leaders, Naveen asked where were they when Odisha was hit by cyclonic storms Phailin, Hudhud and Titli, drought and flood. “The Delhi engine visited, but not Odisha, it went to Andhra Pradesh,” he said.
Launching a frontal attack on the Centre for ‘conspiring to stop KALIA scheme’, Naveen said nobody can stop the scheme till he is alive. “No one can stop the scheme till I am alive. On the day of the formation of the BJD government, farmers will get two instalments (` 10,000) of KALIA funds at a single go,” he said.
Earlier, addressing a meeting at Polsara, the Chief Minister said the Aska Lok Sabha constituency will create a history by electing a member of the Self Help Group (SHG) Pramila Bisoi from the seat. The Chief Minister also addressed public meeting and participated in a road show at Tumudibandha in Kandhamal district.
Responding to the Chief Minister, Pradhan said, “Four and a half crore Odias are our chief ministerial candidate and BJP’s Government in Odisha will be our second engine.”
BJP’s Odisha in-charge Arun Singh said the party’s parliamentary board takes decision on the chief ministerial candidate. “BJP has won with thumping majority in several states without projecting its CM candidate,” he said.