Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Ruling BJD and Opposition BJP in Odisha on Sunday locked horns over the growing controversy surrounding the absence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s pictures in different advertisements on the inaugural occasion of direct flight services from Bhubaneswar to Rourkela.

Responding to Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan’s criticism about the absence of PM Modi’s picture in hoardings and advertisement, Odisha Cabinet Minister Ashok Panda counter attacked the saffron party by questioning why Modi’s picture was only there in today’s newspaper advertisement and CM Naveen’s photograph was missing.

“Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s photograph should have been there in today’s newspaper advertisement. BJP is telling about broadmindedness and criticizing BJD. However, their act has reflected their narrow-mindedness,” said Panda.

Meanwhile, reacting to Panda’s statement, Union Minister Pradhan said that there is no justification for putting the picture of CM Patnaik in the advertisement.

“The direct flight service from Bhubaneswar to Rourkela was launched for Odia people at low price under Centre’s UDAN scheme. I would like to thank the Chief Minister to have requested for the service. But there was no justification in putting the CM’s picture in the advertisement,” said Pradhan.

The Union Minister further alleged that the State Government is hijacking the Centre’s scheme.

“What Ashok Panda thinks is not right and there is no point in accepting his viewpoint in this regard,” he added.

Earlier, Pradhan had termed the absence of PM Modi’s pictures in advertisements and hoardings as ‘unfortunate’.

According to Pradhan, there could be a political rivalry but there is a need to be united whenever it’s a matter of Odisha’s interest.