Senior Congress leader and Editor of Sambad Soumya Ranjan Patnaik has scotched speculation that he was planning to quit the party and join the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD).
“Why would I launch a Sankalp Abhijan if I intend to quit the party?” shot back Patnaik when the question was put to him during a press conference here on Wednesday. “I am very much in Congress and will continue to be in the party in future too,” he said.
Earlier, addressing a mammoth Sankalp Abhijan rally here, the Congress leader called for the strengthening of the party organization at the booth level. “Every booth needs a Gandhi. If every Congress worker takes pledge to ensure 200 votes for the party in every booth, the Congress will certainly return to power in the next elections,” he said.
The former MP from Bhubaneswar launched a tirade against Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik dubbing him a ‘postman’ for Central schemes. “Naveen Patnaik is just a postman who is delivering the benefits of schemes launched by the Central government. But it is dishonest on the part of the Chief Minister to claim credit for Central schemes and hoodwink the people in the process,” he said citing the example of the Rs 1 a kg rice scheme for which the Centre gives subsidy worth Rs 16 while the state government’s contribution is a mere Rs 5.
Coming down heavily on the BJD government for what he called its gross apathy and indifference in managing the mid day meal scheme for school children, Patnaik said; “Children are supposed to be given eggs in their meal. Instead, they are being served lizards.”
Patnaik was escorted to the Town Hall, the venue for the meeting, by thousands of Congress workers from the area. Earlier, he was given a warm welcome by party workers all along the way en route to Biramaharajpur.