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BJP, BJD in cahoots with each other: Congress amid polling in Odisha

Ramesh said the Mahanadi and Kathajodi rivers pass through Cuttack on their way to the Bay of Bengal and ground reports speak of massive encroachment of the river bed, sand mining, garbage and debris dumping, and sewage outflow, causing the slow death of Mahanadi and Kathajodi rivers.
Last Updated : 20 May 2024, 08:23 IST
Last Updated : 20 May 2024, 08:23 IST

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New Delhi: The Congress on Monday claimed that the BJP and the BJD are in cahoots with each other and asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to come clean on his party's association with the BJD.

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh posed questions to the prime minister ahead of his rallies in Odisha.

"Why have the Mahanadi and Kathajodi rivers been poisoned under the Modi Sarkar? Why are Odisha's poorest being exploited through GST? Na-veen and Na-rendra are 2 sides of the same coin. Why is the PM lying about his party's "relationship status" with the BJD?" Ramesh said in a post on X.

Elaborating on what he said were "jumla details", Ramesh said the Mahanadi and Kathajodi rivers pass through Cuttack on their way to the Bay of Bengal and ground reports speak of massive encroachment of the river bed, sand mining, garbage and debris dumping, and sewage outflow, causing the slow death of Mahanadi and Kathajodi rivers.

In 2019, the central government had committed to cleaning the Mahanadi "on the lines of the Ganga", he said.

Of course, the Centre has completely failed to clean up the Ganga as well, the Congress leader added.

In February 2024, the Odisha pollution control board tested water samples and found them unfit for any kind of use, Ramesh said.

He said, "The BJP-controlled Centre and the B-team state government have collectively ensured the complete poisoning and death of these two rivers. Why has the outgoing PM destroyed India's rivers during his Dus Saal Anyay Kaal?" He further said that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) brought by the Modi government is among the most badly-designed and exploitative tax structures in India.

"Today, there is an 18 per cent GST on Kendu leaves, which are collected by Adivasis and other forest-dwelling communities. Kendu leaf collection and sale is the financial backbone of lakhs of Odisha's poorest people. The BJP's anti-Adivasi mentality explains why GST on diamonds is 1.5 per cent while GST on Kendu leaves is 18 per cent," he said.

"Of course, its B-team, the BJD, has been unable to apply any pressure to get this rate changed. Recall that the poorest 50 per cent of Indians pay 67 per cent of GST," Ramesh said.

Why does the "outgoing PM" insist on financially exploiting India's poor and workers, while giving tax breaks to his rich friends, he asked.

Ramesh said the BJP and the BJD's official seat-sharing negotiations earlier this year only confirmed what was already known“ -- despite officially claiming to be in opposition, "the two parties are in cahoots with each other".

In the last 10 years, BJD MPs in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha have bailed out the Modi government on every contentious bill, including on no-confidence motions, he said.

The BJD even supported the Rajya Sabha candidature of BJP leader Ashwini Vaishnav, Ramesh said.

"For its part, the Modi Sarkar has spared the BJD all the bullying and intimidation that it usually reserves for opposition states -- there has been no onslaught of ED-CBI enquiries and raids, and no meddling by the Raj Bhawan," he said.

"Can the PM come clean on his party's association with the BJD? Is this a marriage or is it a partnership? Will the PM apologise for misleading the people of the state by having his party sit in the opposition ranks while colluding with the ruling BJD?" Ramesh said and asked the prime minister to break his "silence" on these issues.

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Published 20 May 2024, 08:23 IST

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