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Rashmi Rekha Das

Taking a jibe at Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s foreign tour, the State wing of Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday came down heavily on Patnaik. 

Notably, Naveen Patnaik met Pope Francis, the head of Catholic Church in Vatican City as part of his foreign visit to Rome and presented him a Pattachitra painting which depicts the Tree of Life on behalf of Odisha. The meeting was the most awaited one during Naveen's ongoing 10-day foreign tour, which was the second foreign trip as CM in the past 22 years. It not only grabbed international eyeballs, but also raised Naveen's political stature in the global arena and back home too.

BJP senior leader Jayanarayan Mishra questioned sources of money being spent for CM’s Italy visit.  CM has to give details of his expenses of the trip as he has used public money for his Rome tour. Besides, Mishra said BJP would object if the state government will ever try to convert our state into Christian state. Mishra said ‘BJP would raise this issue in upcoming Assembly sessions.

Mishra said, “What he (CM Naveen Patnaik) did with the public money. We have rights to question and know about the expenses he made as part of his Rome trip. He then questioned on the need of meeting Pope was and again standing in a row. Pope is not a national leader. We have never seen CM visiting Adi guru Shankaracharya.  If the Naveen government has plans to make Odisha a Christian state, we will never let it happen for sure. We would surely raise our voice against it. Being a resident of Odisha and opposition leader I would like to know reasons behind meeting Pope and what he did with public money during his foreign trip. We would definitely raise this issue in the upcoming assembly session.”

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