“Central negligence” top poll issue for Patnaik’s BJD

Naveen Patnaik. PTI file photo

The Naveen Patnaik-led ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) will go to the twin polls for 147 Assembly and 21 Lok Sabha constituencies with the “Centre’s repeated negligence towards the state” as its principal election plank.

The four-time chief minister left no stone unturned to corner the Narendra Modi-led NDA government at the Centre over the issue while launching his party’s campaign in the coastal town of Nayagarh last Sunday.

Patnaik highlighted several instances as to how the Centre had been working against the state’s interests.

In this context, he raised the ongoing Mahanadi river water dispute with Chhattisgarh which had begun when the BJP was in power in the neighbouring state.

“The Centre sided with Chhattisgarh which forced us to move the Supreme Court to step in”, the chief minister said.

On the controversial Pollavaram project in Andhra Pradesh, Patnaik said that both Modi administration, as well as the previous UPA government, stood solidly behind the neighbouring state.

The project would submerge several villages in Odisha.

He also lambasted the Centre on coal royalty and issues relating to stalled railway projects in the state saying that while the Centre collects revenue of thousands of crores of Rupees from Odisha, the state receives peanuts in return.

And above all, the chief minister did not forget to mention the state’s long-standing demand to declare Odisha a special category state.

“The BJP had promised special category status for us in its manifesto during the last elections. The party failed to keep its promise after coming to power”, Patnaik said.

Both the BJP and the Congress, the BJD’s two main rivals, described Patnaik’s frontal attack as nothing but an attempt to divert people’s mind from Patnaik’s own failures.

"The state has suffered only because of the inefficiency and corrupt practices of the Patnaik administration. The Odia people will give him a fitting reply in the coming polls”, senior BJP leader and Union petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who is leading the BJP’s campaign in the state, said.

In fact, both the BJP and the Congress have made Patnaik’s “corruption and inefficiency” one of their major poll issues.

“The state government is being run by four to five officers handpicked by the chief minister. Therefore, people’s voices are not reaching the government”, Congress president Rahul Gandhi had said during his last visit to the state to address a public meeting in western Odisha.

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“Central negligence” top poll issue for Patnaik’s BJD

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