Salepur, Dec 8:
Taking inspiration from the spectacular performance of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the Delhi Assembly elections, editor turned politician Soumya Ranjan Patnaik today said ‘Ama Odisha’, the political outfit recently launched by him, can do an encore in Odisha.
“The performance of the Aam Aadmi Party, which was launched just nine months ago, in the Delhi elections just goes to show that time is not a constraint in winning elections if there is the right degree of commitment, dedication and hard work,” Patnaik said addressing an impressive rally here this afternoon.
“The five months left for the elections in our state is enough for us to present a political alternative to the BJD and Congress,” he said.
But for that to happen, the attention has to shift from the district and assembly constituency to the booth, he said.
“If we have one person to hold fort at one booth, we will have an army of 33, 000 cadres. Each volunteer, in turn, can inspire five persons in the booth,” he said.
Launching a scathing attack on the Congress high command, Patnaik said it had washed its hands off the state unit in the fond hope that Naveen Patnaik would bail it out after the 2014 elections.
Paraphrasing a well known Odia couplet by saint poet Bhima Bhoi, he said; “The attitude of the Congress high command is; “Even if the state unit of the party goes to hell, let the high command not be harmed.”
Bluntly accusing the Congress of having an underhand deal with the Naveen Patnaik led BJD, he said; “The BJP was Naveen Babu’s old ally and the Congress is his new ally.”
Turning his attention to the BJD government in the state, the Editor of Sambad, the No 1 Odia daily, said it had failed miserably in its elementary duty of ensuring the security of women in the state.
“From Manas Mohini to Bebina to Itishree, each case underlines the abject failure of the BJD government to provide security and justice to women,” he said.
The government’s own data says one woman is raped every eight hours while there are no less than 1200 rapes in the state in a year, he pointed out.
Terming the Rs 1 a kg rice scheme launched by the BJD a ‘bribe’ to the voters, Patnaik said it would not help alleviate poverty or usher in development in the state.
“From the top to the bottom, the government is steeped in corruption at every level,” he said citing the involvement of BJD leaders and even ministers in the multi thousand crore chit fund scam as a case in point.
“If the government’s hands are clean, why has it failed to act against the chit fund companies,” he asked.
Accusing the government of patronising the interest of corporate houses instead of the common man, Patnaik cited its failure to act against Bhushan Steel Limited in Dhenkanal even after 100 people have died in accidents at the plant since it was launched eight year ago, to prove his point.
The senior leader also took a dig at Naveen Patnaik’s stubborn refusal to learn Odia even 13 years after becoming chief minister.
Patnaik was ushered into the meeting venue at the Salepur high school ground in a motor cycle rally by enthusiastic supporters. Travelling in an open jeep, he waved to his supporters all along the route of the rally that began at Jagatpur square on the outskirts of Cuttack city around noon.
“If the crowd at today’s meeting is anything to go by, Patnaik is sure to give sleepless nights not just to the Congress leadership in the state, but also chief minister Naveen Patnaik and his party'” a local Ama Odisha supporter said.
Similar rallies are being planned in the near future in Bhadrak, Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar, Ama Odisha sources said.