Mrunal Manmay Dash

Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan slammed the Odisha government on Tuesday accusing it of influencing voters over welfare schemes.

Pradhan threw salvo at the BJD ruled Odisha government from Mahanga in Cuttack while addressing a public gathering on the occasion of Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) eight years at Centre.

Taking the government to task, Pradhan alleged that the State government is misusing the Central schemes by offering them to only those who have voted for the BJD.

“In a democratic setup like India, the local government is responsible for the implementation of Central schemes on the ground. But I have come to know that the State government is discriminating in giving the benefits to beneficiaries,” Pradhan said.

“The local authorities have been telling the beneficiaries they will get the benefits of the Central schemes only if they vote the Biju Janata Dal,” he alleged.

The BJD however, refuted the allegations. Speaking to the reporters, senior BJD leader and Rajya Sabha member, Prasanna Acharya said, “It is the Central government which is involved in discrimination, not the State government. The BJD’s only aim is the wholesome development of Odisha, exactly why the party has been in power for more than 20 years in the State.”

“We would not have received support from the voters in such a proportion had we been involved in discrimination in selecting eligible beneficiaries,” he added.