Odisha Sun Times Bureau
New Delhi/ Bhubaneswar, Jun 7:
A day after Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik held a press conference in Bhubaneswar to brief the media on the achievements of his government, Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan today launched a scathing attack on him for not taking questions from the press and said that his government bears imprints of a fascist rule.
“He used to make his addresses to the press near the third floor podium. Yesterday, he read out the answers in the third floor auditorium. He didn’t even bother to answer questions from a single reporter. It bears imprints of a fascist rule (Hitler’s rule) where you need to write what he says,” accused Dharmendra.
“While addressing a meeting in Balasore, I had requested him to call up a press conference and answer the questions of Odia people through the reporters. To answer the press is a rule of democracy. This is accountability. It would have been fair for him to answer the questions,” he added.
Taking the attack further, the Union Minister accused the Chief Minister of lack of vision and running the government on central assistance.
“One would blame someone else if he has no vision, no plans and no strategies. The Chief Minister blames others and sheds crocodile tears even after being in power for sixteen years. Even after a 16-year long rule, he speaks one-sidedly and runs programmes through central assistance. This is a bankrupt, untrustworthy and incompetent government. This is the achievement of his 16-year rule,” said Pradhan while training his gun on the State Government on issues such as rural housing, NFSA irregularities, cess hike issue among others.
War of words between BJP and BJD, however, got murkier as BJD tore into Pradhan for his remarks.
“The statements Minister Dharmendra Pradhan made today prove that he is intellectually bankrupt. We had doubts earlier, but today he proved it. So far as bankcrptcy of the state is concerned, would he read what RBI report has to say about it? He is an escapist who ran away to Delhi after losing polls here,” shot back BJD leader Pratap Deb in a rather personal attack.
“The Minister should know that there are 6,42,000 villages in India out of which 6,22,000 villages had been electrified by the time their Ujjwala scheme started. The rural electrification started back in 70’s under various schemes including Biju Gramya Jyoti and Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana. They shouldn’t try to take mileage by electrifying 18,000 villages in five years. The people of this country are no fools,” said Deb.
“So far as our housing scheme is concerned, he should check with the Additional Secretary of Union Rural Development Department who verified our numbers, appreciated our efforts and promised to reward it too. Centre has been increasing cess instead of tax since past two years knowingly as states do not get any benefit from cess hike whereas they have a share in tax. Further, they have been decreasing spending on agriculture, health, education and women empowerment in the three budgets they presented. What right do they have to talk of development,” questioned Deb.