Battle Line Drawn

The battle line is now drawn between BJD and BJP ahead of the upcoming general elections as Naveen Patnaik and Amit Shah countered each other.

Though after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s three back-to-back visits and Shah’s one visit on January 29, indicated the BJP central leadership has adopted a soft attitude towards the regional party,  the saffron party president proved it wrong.

Mr.Shah while addressing the BJP’s ST Morcha convention, came down heavily and called upon people to throw out Naveen Patnaik government out of power as the BJD failed to develop the mineral rich state.

Forgetting all the help from the BJD in the past, Mr.Shah dubbed the Patnaik Government as a “fused transformer” that hindered development of the state.

Naveen also took no time to counter Mr.Shah. Barely within some minutes, Naveen hit back and challenged BJP Chief Amit Shah, asking him to wait for the results of 2019 elections to see who is thrown out of power in the state.

"We should await the results of the 2019 elections," Naveen said adding,   "It (the results) will decide which government will be thrown out of power and which government will stay."

"I understand he said that my government is a fused transformer. He will wait and see who is the fused transformer and who is the transformer of Odisha," Naveen said further.

On Mr.Shah's remark describing the ruling BJD in Odisha as a "B team" of the Congress, Mr.Patnaik stressed that the ruling party was an "A team" on its own.

"We are an A team on our own," Mr.Patnaik told reporters here, adding that the regional party continued to maintain equidistance from both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress.
Mr.Shah accused the BJD Government of ignoring the state's development, neglecting tribals and Dalits and refusing to accept the Centre's Ayushman Bharat medical insurance programme which would have helped the poor draw benefits.

He alleged that though the BJP-led NDA government has pumped more than Rs five lakh crore for the development of the state, the BJD Government failed to utilise it.

The money being sent by Mr.Modi for the development of the state is not reaching the people in the tail end, Shah alleged asking people to "throw away" the BJD government in the coming election.

Dubbing the BJD and the Congress as two sides of the same coin, Mr.Shah also called the regional party as the "B-Team" of the Congress.

Both the BJD and the Congress have failed the state and the BJP should be given at least one chance to make Odisha the number one state in the country, Mr.Shah said.

Alleging that Mr.Patnaik was unable to communicate in the state's language, Shah asked people to elect a chief minister in the coming elections who can understand and speak Odia. He claimed Mr.Patnaik does not understand the pain of the poor because he cannot speak Odia.

The BJP president also slammed the state government for not being able to protect the 'Ratna Bhandar' (temple treasury) of Lord Jagannath.

Citing an instance on the neglect of tribals in the state, Shah said the CM should be ashamed when a tribal like Dana Majhi had to carry his wife's body on his shoulder for 12 km from a hospital to his village.

"Such CMs should be thrown out of power." 

He was referring to an incident in 2016 when a tribal man in Kalahandi carried his wife's body on his shoulder after being denied a hearse by the government hospital.

Mr.Shah was critical of the BJD government and accused it of not being able to spend funds even as the state had enough money in the District Mineral Foundations. The DMF funds are meant for the development of mineral-bearing areas, mostly inhabited by tribals, he pointed out.

Mr.Shah raked up the state government's refusal to adopt the Ayushman Bharat scheme, asking people to raise their voice against this injustice.

"Elections are three months away. I once again request Naveen Babu to accept the scheme or else the voters will throw you out of power," the BJP president said.

"If you want, you can remove our names from the scheme but why are you troubling the poor people of Odisha?" he said.

He alleged that the Odisha CM had not implemented the Ayushman Bharat scheme in the state as he feared it will increase PM Modi's popularity.

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