Bhubaneswar, Apr 6 (PTI) Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today laughed at BJP president Amit Shah’s claim that the saffron party would win more than 120 seats in next year’s state Assembly polls.

He also said his government had never neglected the western Odisha districts, as alleged by Shah.

“The state government has never neglected the western Odisha districts. As you can see, we are working for the all-round development of that region,” the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) chief told reporters here.

At a public meeting in Bolangir yesterday, Shah had alleged that the BJD government was neglecting the western Odisha districts.

The BJP chief had also said if the saffron party was voted to power in Odisha, it would give a special attention towards the development of the western region of the state.

“Naveen Patnaik has been adopting a step-motherly attitude towards the western region. While the area under irrigation across the state is 33 per cent, it is only 11 per cent in the western districts. This shows that Naveen babu has not done justice towards these districts,” Shah had said.

The BJP has a strong presence in the western Odisha districts.

Patnaik laughed at Shah’s claim that the BJP would win over 120 of the 147 Assembly seats in Odisha next year.

I think that (Shah’s estimation) is very very exaggerating. I do not see any basis of his claim, the chief minister said with a smile on his face.

On the first day of his visit to Odisha on April 4, Shah had not mentioned about the BJP’s target of winning 120 plus seats in the state. The BJP chief had set the “120 plus” target during his visit to the state in September last year.

I had not spoken about Mission 120 yesterday (Wednesday) and Naveen babu planted news in the media as to why I was silent. I had not spoken about it because I am sure that we will win more seats here, much bigger than the mandate we got in Tripura recently, Shah had told the gathering at Bolangir yesterday.

He had also ridiculed Patnaik, saying, “Naveen babu is scared, not me. He is scared because the youth has come with us.” The BJP president had also accused the chief minister of shielding criminals , who, he said, were attacking the BJP workers.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.