Pradeep Pattanayak

Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Sunday trained his gun at the BJD-led government over several issues including the Naba Das murder case at a meeting held at Kolabira in the poll-bound Jharsuguda district on Sunday.

“The state government has to answer why an on-duty police officer killed a sitting minister. The government has to answer what is the motive behind the murder,” said Pradhan while addressing a gathering in the district.

“Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, would you kindly say how many times have you presided over the Tribal Advisory Committee for the development of tribal-dominated areas like Laikera, Kirmira and Kolabira?” he asked. 

“As to my information, the chief secretary has not met the Chief Minister for even once since his appointment. There is no scope for the DG to discuss with the CM. The question arising is who is ruling here. Here, the ‘Kalapahadas’ are ruling. Here Raja Khan is being protected by the leaders of the BJD,” he said. 

Raising the Sambalpur issue, he asked, “Should we allow Sambalpur to become Pakistan?”

Similarly, Union Minister Biseswar Tudu too targeted the Chief Minister. “Can he (Naveen Patnaik) answer what has necessitated this bypoll? If he can’t answer, he wouldn’t get votes. It is simple arithmetic,” he said. 

On the other hand, the grand old party Congress targeted both Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. 

Addressing a press conference, Chairman of Congress Campaign Committee Bijay Patnaik said, “In order to generate employment, a downstream industries park was to be set up here in Jharsuguda. It was envisioned five years ago. Why it is in the doldrums?”

“Our question to the BJP candidate is that if he opposed the Jharsuguda people are going to Sundargarh in search of works, then why has he come to Jharsuguda to represent from here?” he asked. 

Chairman of PCC Media Cell Ganeswar Behera too took a swipe at the BJD-led government and said, “The State government announced that the farmers would be compensated for the gunny bags they use for bringing paddy. But it isn’t being practiced anywhere. Despite being in power for long 23 years, the farmers’ sufferings are still there where they were. The Congress seeks an answer from the Chief Minister.”

“Similarly, the Congress wants to know from Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan why the prices of essential commodities are rising,” he said. 

Responding to the allegations and questions the BJP and Congress put up, BJD leader Debi Prasad Mishra said, “It is true that Bijay Patnaik is an experienced bureaucrat. But he is a novice in politics. The questions he has put up are baseless and irrelevant. They (the Congress) are fighting with the BJP for the second position in the State. This is why they are bringing such allegations.”