Rashmi Rekha Das

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday accused the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) of campaigning for party supremo Naveen Patnaik in the name of the Hockey World Cup.

The State BJP general secretary Prithviraj Harichandan brought up this allegation in a press meet on Wednesday.

Harichandan ridiculed the ruling party, saying the Odisha government is organising gram sabhas on the inaugural day of the championship as part of its strategy to restore the party and its chief’s tarnished image. 

Addressing the media, the BJP leader further maintained that as per the government decision, matches will be telecast at every panchayat office. An estimated Rs 30,000 has been approved for each grama sabha. The government was supposed to hold grama sabhas on January 26. But it is now holding the grama sabhas 15 days before the scheduled time, said Harichandan.

He further said, “Instead of popularising the Hockey World Cup, the Odisha government is busy campaigning for itself by hosting the grand sports extravaganza. And, this is unfortunate and unwarranted. The Odisha government’s intention of holding grama sabha 15 days  before its scheduled time is unclear. The government needs to clear its stand on it.”

He went on to add: “In grama sabha, issues related to Mahatma Gandhi NREGA, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana are usually discussed. The state government must prepare a list of eligible beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana and paste the lists on the wall of every panchayat office. And the government must erase names of those persons who are not eligible to avail benefits under the Awas Yojana because BJP is not going to tolerate any kind of discrepancy in the yojana.”

Reacting to BJP’s allegations, BJD leader Debi Prasad Mishra said, “In the recently held all-party meeting, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had maintained that it’s a matter of pride for every Odia that Odisha is hosting the FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup. Veteran BJP leader Samir Mohanty was also present there. So, BJP should not make an issue on it. Every Odia should be proud of it.”