Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday took a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for visiting the state “10 times” for campaigning in the past one month, but not finding time even once during last five years when people were hit by natural calamities.
The BJD president accused the saffron party of eyeing votes of Odia people, but not showing any interest in Odisha’s development.
“The Prime Minister has visited Odisha 10 times for election campaigning in one month. But, he could not find time to tour the state even once in last five years, when people are hit by natural calamities,” Patnaik said.
Patnaik had earlier ridiculed the BJP leaders frequent visit to Odisha as “election tourism”.
“It is votes of Odias and not the people of the state which is valuabe for BJP leaders,” Patnaik alleged while addressing a series of election meetings in Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara districts, where polling is scheduled to be held in the fourth phase on April 29.
Justifying his allegation against Modi, Patnaik said the Prime Minister had visited Andhra Pradesh on October 14, 2014 after cyclone Hudhud. He visited Bihar on August 26, 2017, Gujarat on July 25, Assam on August 1, 2017 and Kerala on August 18, 2018 to witness floods.
But, he did not visit Odisha even once while the state battled natural calamities.
“Odisha faced cyclone Hudhud in 2014, acute drought in 2015, devastating floods in 2017 and cyclone Titli and subsequent floods in 2018. Had the Prime Minister visited Odisha?” Patnaik asked.
“I have been all along with the people of Odisha. I will remain with them,” Patnaik, who is serving as CM continuously for the past 19 years, said.
While addressing a meeting at Ersama in Jagatsinghpur district where at least 10,000 people were killed in the 1999 super cyclone, Patnaik said: “That was the saddest moment in my life. Entire Odisha was devastated. Then I had pledged to ensure that not a single life will be lost to calamities. Now, Odisha is a model state in disaster management. Even United Nations has praised Odisha.”
Patnaik accused the BJP of blocking disbursement of assistance to farmers under KALIA scheme. He reiterated that all the eligible farmers will get the assistance on the first day of his government taking oath of the office after elections.
Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA) scheme, provides financial, livelihood, cultivation support along with insurance support to small, marginal and the landless farmers of the state.
The chief minister also undertook a road show in Kendrapara Lok Sabha segment where ruling BJD has fielded cine star Anubhav Mohanty against BJP’s Baijayant Panda.
Senior BJP leader and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan in a twitter post quipped “BJD has no other issue than opposing Modi. Naveen Patnaik has not made it clear on which issues the BJD is fighting polls.”