Can Naveen Babu name 10 districts without reading from paper: PM Modi

PM says CM post outsourced to ‘Super CM’; Naveen reminds him of ‘forgotten promises’
PM Narendra Modi takes the blessings of Padma Shri Purnamasi Jani during his election rally in Phulbani on Saturday
PM Narendra Modi takes the blessings of Padma Shri Purnamasi Jani during his election rally in Phulbani on Saturday(Photo | PTI)

BHUBANESWAR: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday lit into Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik saying the latter is so disconnected from the state that he cannot even name 10 district headquarters without reading from a piece of paper.

Addressing three back-to-back election rallies at Kandhamal, Balangir and Bargarh during his second leg of electioneering in the state which goes into its first phase of polls on May 13, Modi said a chief minister who does not know his state and problems of the people is no good for Odisha.

At the Kandhamal meeting, Modi said Naveen Babu has no political will to take Odisha on the path of progress and dared him to name the districts and the district headquarters of Odisha without seeing a written note.

Stepping up his attack on the CM, Modi said Naveen has outsourced his government to someone not elected by the people of Odisha. “There is a ‘Super CM’ who is above the democratically elected CM and MLAs in Odisha. The BJD has outsourced the chief minister’s post to someone who is not even aware of the cultural values of Odisha,” the PM told the public meeting at Bargarh.

The PM said Odia culture and pride is in danger and cannot be mortgaged to someone who has no respect for it. “This is the reason BJP has taken the pledge to save the state and its people from the danger. I have already declared that June 4 is the expiry date of the BJD government.”

Modi said Naveen has been at the helm of the state for the last 25 years but kept it poor. “A new generation becomes mature in 25 years and starts a new life but it is unfortunate the BJD government could not pull Odisha out of poverty in the last 25 years. This generation has nothing but anger against the BJD government and its corrupt leaders,” he said and urged people to give BJP five years to usher in change.

Comparing with Gujarat, he said the western state, of which he was CM for three terms, has no other minerals except salt, yet it is now at the pinnacle of progress but Odisha, in stark contrast, despite its abundant natural resources is still lagging and people are migrating to other states, the PM said.

Coming down heavily on the state government for not paying adequate MSP for paddy to farmers, the prime minister in his Bargarh rally said, the region is a land of farmers but the BJD government has emptied the ‘rice bowl’ and everything has gone into treasury of BJD leaders.

He also took a swipe at the state government over the missing keys of Ratna Bhandar, the treasury of Shri Jagannath Temple, and the BJD government’s reluctance for re-inventorisation of the valuables.

Questioning the silence of the chief minister on the emotive issue, the PM said it is a matter of grave concern that the keys of the Ratna Bhandar are missing for the last six years but the state government says the duplicate is available. “What kind of a government is it which could not keep the keys of the temple safe? Are the valuables of the deities safe or is everything stolen? People have the right to know,” he added.

He also pointed out report of the Justice Raghubir Das Commission that probed into the issue of missing keys has not been made public and assured the matter will be taken up once the BJP is voted to power in the state. “I promise that the honour and sanctity of Ratna Bhandar will be restored. This is Modi’s guarantee.”

Before addressing the rally, the prime minister took the blessings of Padma Shri Purnamasi Jani, poet and social activist, and Tula Behera, a beggar who had donated `1 lakh to Jagannath Temple by touching their feet.

Kandhamal has enough tourism potential and Daringbadi is considered Kashmir of Odisha but the BJD government has no plans to explore the potential of the district, the PM said and promised to set up a spices park in the tribal-dominated district.

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