Salepur, Feb 9:
Rahul Gandhi on Sunday exhorted party workers and people to fight the corrupt and inefficient Biju Janata Dal government and ensure its defeat in the next general elections.
Addressing a public meeting at Bhatapada village here, the Congress vice-president came down heavily on the BJD government in the state and accused it of siphoning funds meant for development of the state.
He said Odisha is a rich (Amir) region as far as the bounties of nature were concerned. It has huge deposits of iron, coal, bauxite,manganese and a vast coastline. But it is unfortunately considered the poorest state in the country.
“The people of this ‘amir’ state are ‘garib’ because the money that the minerals in the state fetch do not reach the people. It goes to the pockets of mining mafia and a handful of people,” he alleged.
“3500 farmers have committed suicide, 10 lakh unemployed youth are still waiting to get jobs. The tribals and dalits are being oppressed and subjected to discrimination,” Rahul said adding, “many schools and hospitals in the state are closed because the BJD government is incapable of providing teachers for schools and doctors for hospitals.”
Rahul said Odisha has received record amount of Central funds in the last decade under UPA rule. However, he said, the BJD government had failed to make use of it. In any case, the funds never reached the target population, he said.
” I am told Rs 5000 crore is still lying unspent here,” he said.
The chief of Congress campaign committee referred to a series of scams that had surfaced during the BJD rule including the MGNRGEA scam, mid-day meal scam and PDS rice scam.
Stating that 20 lakh poor investors have been duped by chit fund companies and the mining scam in Odisha is worth 60,000 crore, Rahul asked party men as well as voters to ensure the defeat of the BJD government in the general elections.
Rahul advised his party men to go to villages and tell the people all about it. He asked them to pick up cudgels on behalf of the poor, downtrodden, Dalits and adivadis in the state and fight for their rights.
” I had taken up the fight of the adivasis in Niyamgiri and ensured their inalienable rights were restored. This fight must go on, ” he said.
The meeting at Bhatpada was attended by a sizeable crowd with women outnumbering men.