Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Mar 5:
Launching a tirade against the Congress on the one hand and and the BJP on the other, Biju Janata Dal president Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday accused the leaders of the two national parties of begging for votes in the name of Biju Patnaik while caring two hoots about Odisha.
He was speaking at a youth convention organised by the party to mark the birth anniversary of Biju Patnaik, the legendary leader after whom the party is named.
“Some political parties and its leaders are taking the name of our beloved Biju Patnaik to garner votes in the state. They also beg votes in the name of lord Jagannath. But I want to ask them, what were they were doing when Odisha was facing Phailin and floods. Everybody went to Uttarakhand at the time of the disaster. But nobody – Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, BJP president and its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi – visited the state during that time. Now, the people of Odisha understand their crocodile tears,” said the BJD president and chief minister Naveen Patnaik addressing the youth convention at the exhibition ground here.
Launching a fresh round of Centre-bashing, Patnaik raked up everything from mining royalty to special category status to have a go at the UPA government at the Centre.
“The Central government has neglected us for years together on every front. We are losing Rs five crore every day that amounts Rs 1800 crore per year due to the non-revision of mineral royalty. Despite our repeated approach, the Centre does not pay heed to our demands. I don’t know whose interest it is working to protect – the 4 crore people of Odisha or a few miners?,” thundered the normally sedate chief minister.
He also ‘smelt’ politics in the granting of special category status to Seemandhra, the state carved out after the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.
“The awarding of special category status to Seemandhra smells of politics. It was given special tag overnight. While Odisha was denied it on the ground that it it does not fulfill the international boundary criteria, I want to know from the Centre: with which country does Seemandhra share an international boundary?” asked the chief minister.
Patnaik claimed his party had turned around things in the state since coming to power 14 years ago.
“When we came to power in 2000, the situation was precarious….the state was surviving on overdrafts. Now, poverty has reduced, plan size has increased and RBI has recognized us for successfully attracting investment and moreover, we have received UN recognition for successfully managing disasters,” said Patnaik.
He urged the people to vote for the BJD in such large numbers that it breaks the record set by the legendary Biju Patnaik under whose leadership the then Janata Dal had won a record 123 seats in the Assembly elections of 1990.
“I urge the people to ensure that the BJD wins all 21 Lok Sabha seats in the state so that the voice of Odisha is heard loud and clear in Delhi,” he said.
The Chief Minister said he was ‘committed’ to working for the development of the state whether in power or out of it. “I will continue to serve Odisha till my last breath,” he said adding a personal note to the proceedings
BJD vice-presidents Damodar Rout and Kalpataru Das said that the party will work to get at least 125 seats in the ensuing Assembly elections, breaking Biju Babu’s record.