BHUBANESWAR: Taking a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for visiting Odisha 10 times in the last one month for campaigning but not finding time even once during the last five years to show up when people were hit by natural calamities, Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik on Friday criticised the BJP for eyeing votes of Odia people without showing any interest in the development of the State.
“The Prime Minister has visited Odisha 10 times for election campaigning in one month. But he could not find time to tour the State even once in the last five years when people were hit by natural calamities,” Naveen said.
“It is the vote of Odias and not the people of Odisha which is valuable for BJP leaders,” the CM alleged while addressing a series of election meetings in Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara Lok Sabha constituencies which go to polls in the fourth and final phase on April 29.
Justifying his allegation against Modi, Naveen said, “Odisha faced cyclone Hudhud in 2014, acute drought in 2015, devastating floods in 2017 and cyclone Titli and subsequent floods in 2018. But the Prime Minister did not find time to visit Odisha.”
The Chief Minister addressed a meeting at Balikuda-Erasama during his tour of Jagatsinghpur Parliamentary constituency. However, he was silent on former minister Damodar Rout who is the BJP candidate from the Assembly segment, giving rise to speculation that the two have reached some sort of an agreement. The senior Rout’s son Sambit is the BJD candidate from Paradip Assembly seat.
Addressing a rally at Erasama, where thousands were killed in 1999 Super Cyclone, Naveen said, “It was the saddest moment in my life. Entire Odisha was devastated. Then I had pledged to ensure that not a single life will be lost to calamities. Now, Odisha is a model State in disaster management. Even United Nations has praised Odisha.”
Criticising the BJP-led Government at the Centre for conspiring to stop disbursement of funds under KALIA scheme, Naveen reiterated that all eligible farmers will get the assistance on the first day of his Government taking oath of the office after elections.
The Chief Minister also participated in a road show in Kendrapara Lok Sabha seat where ruling BJD has fielded cine star Anubhav Mohanty against BJP’s Baijayant Panda.
Meanwhile, senior BJP leader and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan in a Twitter post said, “BJD has no other issue than opposing Modi. Naveen Patnaik has not made it clear on which issues the BJD is fighting the polls.”