Mrunal Manmay Dash

The politics heated up in Odisha after the Central government invited beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY)-Gramin to Delhi to witness the Republic Day Parade on January 26, 2024.

As per the reports, the upcoming Republic Day celebration in India will focus on women's empowerment. A large number of female beneficiaries of Central schemes will be invited as special guests. Seating arrangements for 75,000 people will be made, with over 10,000 of them being special guests.

As the distribution of houses under the PMAY has been a matter of contention between the BJP-led Central government and the BJD-led Odisha government, this invitation to PMAY beneficiaries has opened a floodgate of allegations and counter-allegations between the parties.

the BJD has termed it a propaganda politics, the Odisha BJP unit feels the ruling party is scared of the Centre because of massive corruption in the scheme.

“We had vehemently opposed the closing of the Awas portal. But the Centre anyway closed it with excuses like the beneficiaries with scooters and freezes cannot be allotted PMAY homes,” said BJD MLA Simarani Nayak.

"This decision to invite the beneficiaries to Delhi is laughable. This is a means of propaganda and nothing else,” Nayak said.

Terming the move as historic, BJP spokesperson Dilip Mallick said, “This is a historical step by the Central government. The Odisha government is scared of this because they have hijacked the central scheme by renaming it the Biju Pucca Ghar scheme. There have been large-scale irregularities and corruption in the distribution of houses under PMAY. Even the Gaya Commission report corroborated the allegations. This has added to their fears.”

It is pertinent to mention here that the BJP has long been alleging that the State government has hijacked the PMAY by distributing homes under ‘Biju Pucca Ghar’ labels. They have also alleged that the Odisha government is involved in large-scale corruption by allotting PMAY houses to BJD leaders and workers leaving out actual beneficiaries.