Rashmi Ranjan

The Opposition BJP and the Congress launched a broadside against the Biju Janata Dal chief and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik as he returned to the State capital on Tuesday after being conferred with Capital Foundation ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’, in Delhi.

Terming the ostentatious welcome to CM Naveen by party workers and leader as a farce, the State unit of the BJP said the latter has the habit of buying awards ahead of the elections.

Coming down heavily on BJD’s grand welcome to party supremo, Leader of Opposition Jayanarayan Mishra said, “The welcome ceremony is a farce. Naveen Babu has a habit of buying such awards prior to elections. There is nothing new in this. It will have no impact, whatsoever. People are now able to understand the drama.”

“This (lifetime achievement) award has been bought, for how much I’m not aware. I don’t know whether the organisation which has given the award has any credibility. An organisation, which is not known to anyone in India, is felicitating CM, isn’t this drama,” Mishra questioned.

Similarly, senior Congress leader Sura Routray dubbed the award as “shameless”.

“The award is an ordinary one. To regain his loosing popularity, CM Naveen is doing such drama. People will give right reply to BJD in 2024 elections,” Routray said.

Commenting on the development, the ruling BJD said CM Naveen’s hard work has earned him the award and the matter should not be politicised.  

“In terms of food security, Odisha is among top 3 states in the country. Our State has set an example in the country in terms of women empowerment and other developmental projects under 5T scheme,” said Cuttack Mayor Subash Singh.

BJD MP Sasmit Patra said, “Entire Odisha welcomed CM Naveen in a grand way. This is a moment of pride for all of us. I don’t want to politicise the matter as his 25 years of hard work has earned him the Lifetime Achievement Award.”

While the ruling BJD celebrates CM Naveen’s Lifetime Achievement award in a grand manner,  the saffron party workers staged a dharna in front of Raj Bhavan today protesting soaring crimes against women in the State.

Raising questions over the BJD government’s 22 years of governance, Bhubaneswar BJP president Babu Singh said Odisha stands at third position in women harassment cases in the country in the recently published NCRB report

“Women and children are not safe in Odisha. Our fight aims at providing safety and security to women in the state,” said Babu Singh, Bhubaneswar BJP president .

Meanwhile, BJP has also submitted a memorandum to Odisha Governor Prof Ganeshi Lal over the deteriorating law and order situation in the State.

Commenting on the allegations levelled by the saffron party, State Revenue and Disaster Management  Minister Pramilla Mallick said this is BJP’s stunt to mark its presence in the State.

“The BJP is intolerant about CM Naveen’s popularity. They are just trying to establish their presence by doing such politics,” Mallick added.

Other than CM Naveen, two others from Odisha- Dr Jaychandra Das, Pragyansheni Pradhan were also awarded by the Capital Foundation.

The duo were awarded by former Chief Justice of India N. V. Ramana for their distinguished service in health and child care sectors.

While Dr Das, who hails from Nua Sasan area in Pipili, is a renowned ophthalmologist , Pradhan works as a superintendent of Cuttack-based child care unit that looks after the betterment of divyang children.