'Dream Girl' seeks double-engine government in Odisha

She said the prime minister has given Rs 18 lakh crore for development of the state.
BJP MP and Bollywood celebrity Hema Malini addresses a public meeting at Salia Sahi in Bhubaneswar
BJP MP and Bollywood celebrity Hema Malini addresses a public meeting at Salia Sahi in BhubaneswarPHOTO | DEBADATTA MALLICK

BHUBANESWAR/CUTTACK: A double-engine government by BJP is crucial for acceleration of development in Odisha, said Bollywood's dream girl and BJP leader Hema Malini on Friday.

The star campaigner of BJP in her first election campaign in the state targeted the BJD government accusing it of failing to secure Odisha's progress on many fronts. Hema, who attended BJP's ‘Ashirvad Samabesh’ at Salia Sahi, the state capital's biggest slum, to canvass for party's Bhubaneswar Lok Sabha candidate Aparajita Sarangi and Bhubaneswar-North Assembly candidate Priyadarshi Mishra said Congress ruled Odisha for 50 years and BJD for another 25 years. However, corruption and unemployment increased in the state during the period and people have become helpless, she said.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has come up with a number of schemes for women, dalits, adivasis, poor as well as those belonging to backward sections. Unfortunately, people of Odisha have been deprived of all the schemes and programmes,” said Hema.

She said the prime minister has given Rs 18 lakh crore for development of the state. However, nothing much has been done by the BJD government. “Development can only be secured if BJP forms its government in Odisha,” she said.

Hema also spoke on the ‘Subhadra’ scheme as per which BJP has promised Rs 50,000 cash voucher to women and urged everyone to vote for the saffron party candidates to accelerate Odisha's growth and development under prime minister's ‘New India’ vision.

While residents of Salia Sahi saw and listened to the dream girl, the latter's much-hyped election meeting in Cuttack Sadar Assembly constituency turned to be a damp squib, as she failed to reach the venue leaving the crowd disappointed.

The saffron party had organised an election meeting at Kishan Nagar High School play ground. As announced earlier, Hema along with Rajasthan government's cabinet minister Avinash Gehlot and party candidate for Cuttack Sadar Assembly constituency Prakash Chandra Sethi were scheduled to hold a roadshow and reach the meeting venue at 1.15 pm. The promise of dream girl at the venue saw around 5,000 people from different gram panchayats gathered at the venue notwithstanding the scorching heat.

But the excitement turned into disappointment as while Sethi reached the venue with Gehlot at 2.45 pm and announced that the actress-turned-politician returned midway due to ill-health. “Hema Malini suddenly fell ill due to which she returned midway,” said Gehlot.

However, it had little effect as people left the venue in hordes. “I had come to the meeting and waited for around four hours to see and hear Bollywood's dream girl Hema Malini. When I learnt she was not coming, I left the meeting spot and returned home,” said a disgruntled Subas Mahali of Sudukhanda.

After campaigning in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, the veteran Bollywood actor held a roadshow in Pipili to canvass for the party candidates. BJP Puri Lok Sabha candidate Sambit Patra and Pipili assembly candidate Ashrit Pattanayak accompanied her in the roadshow.

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