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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Nov 25:

BJP President Amit Shah today addressed a massive gathering of party supporters in Odisha capital to mark the beginning of the panchayat poll campaign in the state.

Addressing the rally held at Baramunda ground in Bhubaneswar, Shah along with other leaders of Odisha BJP today criticized Odisha government for its failure in several areas including health, water supply, electricity, employment generation, infrastructure, law and order among others.

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“17 years is a long time for any country or state. The people of Odisha handed over the reins of the state to Naveen Patnaik for this long a period. Odisha is still lying where it was while many other states have gone far ahead,” said Shah while adding that he is in the state to ask Naveen his progress report of past 17 years of rule.

He also cited several cases where he alleged that the State Government has not been able to make much of a difference and accused that the State Government puts the interests of the ruling party over the interests of the state.

“In the 17 years, they have not even been able to facilitate water. What else can they do? Odisha has enough potential to power up the entire country through its coal. However, 41 percent of the homes are off the grid. It is unfortunate. What is this government doing? If you are unable to provide electricity to the tribals and poor men of the state, you don’t have any rights to be in power,” he added.

Sharpening his attack further, he said that the State Government has not been able to address fundamental issues even though the central funding has increased over the years. The BJP led NDA government has sanctioned as much as 1,30,000 crore over the past two and half years, said Shah.

“As many as 15,000 villages do not yet have all-weather road connectivity because of the poor governance of last 17 years. This government keeps alleging ‘Central negligence’ all the while. The truth is: out of the Rs 94,000 crore budget outlay last year, the share of central funding stood at more than Rs 45,000 crore from several heads. Even though the state generates only Rs 33,000 crore revenue, they spend as much as Rs 45,000 crore over salary, pension and interests. If the rural areas are making progress today, it is because of the aids facilitated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” said Odisha BJP President Basant Panda.

“Wherever you go, you will see corruption and corruption. No man carries the corpse of his wife on his shoulder out of pleasure. Dana Majhi had to. Children died in Nagada, children are dying in Malkangiri, but the government is organising Biju Women Conference, Biju Students’ Conference and distributing money,” alleged Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram.

Addressing the gathering, Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said, “This government of 17 years have failed the youth of the state. The mothers and sisters are not safe here. The problems of the poor are never-ending. Incidents such as Nagada, Gumudumaha and Dana Majhi have become the identity of Odisha. This incompetent government that is ruling the state must answer.”

Reacting to the allegations, Biju Janata Dal Spokesperson Pratap Deb said, “This rally by BJP was aimed at the panchayat polls. They did make several statements to encourage their party workers. I would like to make it clear that we have the answers to all the questions they directed towards the State Government. Besides, they called their rally a trailer. If that indeed was the trailer, I don’t think the film will work”.

Congress, on the other hand, called the meeting meaningless and alleged that BJP and BJD are “brothers in arms”.

“Beyond the rhetoric, there is nothing new about Amit Shah’s speech. He was supposed to talk about corruption. Did he say a word about the chit fund scam or the mining scam? it proves that BJD and BJP are brothers in arms,” said Odisha Congress President Prasad Harichandan speaking to reporters after Shah’s address.

Congress Spokesperson Biswa Bhusan Mohapatra, in his reaction criticized Shah for not making his party’s stand clear on crucial Mahanadi issue and claimed that the rally will have no impact on panchayat polls.

“Shah didn’t make a statement on Mahanadi issue that is going to affect the four and half crore population of the state. I don’t see how his address will benefit his party in rural polls,” said Odisha Congress President Prasad Harichandan.

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