Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Khariar(Nuapada), Apr 5:
Congress president Sonia Gandhi today made a scathing attack on the Naveen Patnaik-led BJD government in Odisha, accusing it of being neck-deep in corruption and non-performance when it came to implementation of Central schemes for the poor in the state. She also targeted BJD’s old ally, the BJP for hoodwinking the voters with false and hollow promises and launching a tirade against the UPA based on a whole lot of lies.
She said the Congress is committed to enact laws to ensure free health care to the poor and also pucca houses for every family if it is voted back to power at the Centre.
Addressing a largely attended election meeting in Khariar in Odisha’s Nuapada district on Saturday, Mrs Gandhi targeted the BJD government in the state for its complicity in the huge mining scam that was worth several lakh crores of rupees and said it was a pity that people of this mineral-rich state did not get any benefit from the mining sector which was allowed to be looted in such brazen manner.
She also reminded the people of the series of scams that have taken place during the BJD regime including the chit fund scam, mid-day meal scam and the dal scam. The Congress president also lashed out at the state government for its failure to utilise Central funds meant for the marginalised sections such as poor widows. She said development could have been much faster and better had her party been in government in the state.
“If you compare the amount of Central funds that have flown into Odisha over the last 10 years of UPA rule with the money that reached the state under the NDA regime, you will see a ‘zameen-aasman’ difference,” she said.
Stating that unlike under the NDA regime, the Odisha government had received huge amounts of Central funds and liberal assistance for development work in the state, she said the BJD government had failed to deliver at the grass roots level.
The All India Congress Committee president also reminded the people of the significant role Rahul Gandhi played in defending the rights of the tribal people in Niyamgiri and said Congress has always been on the side of the poor, dalits and tribals and had brought legislations for their welfare and their rights to food security, forest, land and livelihood.
“It was Rahul who had visited Niyamgiri when they were in trouble.” she said.
Taking a dig at the BJP, she said while the Congress was committed to work for the poor and common people, the saffron party was hankering after ‘kursi’ ( chair) and ‘satta’ (power).
Mrs Gandhi said the country was passing through a trying time and people should discern between the genuine ones and those with ‘mukhota’ (masks).
Warning people against falling into the trap of hollow and fake promises dished out by the BJP, she appealed to the voters to support her party candidates in all Lok Sabha and Assembly constituencies
AICC general secretary in charge of Odisha BK Hariprasad, PCC president Jayadev Jena and the Congress candidate for the Kalahandi Lok Sabha seat Bhakta Charan Das were among those present in this election meeting while the chief of Odisha Congress campaign committee and Union minister Srikant Jena was conspicuous by his absence.