Vikash Sharma

The political atmosphere has now heated up with the beginning of the first phase voting in Odisha on Monday. The voting is currently underway in 4 Lok Sabha segments. However, it was the joint conference by senior BJP leaders at Bhubaneswar that has added fuel to the ongoing war of words between BJP and BJD ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a series of allegations against the ruling party and its supremo Naveen Patnaik.

Odisha BJP chief Manmohan Samal, party’s national vice-president and Kendrapara Lok Sabha candidate Baijayant Panda, Union Minister and party’s Sambalpur Lok Sabha candidate Dharmendra Pradhan, former Union Minister Pratap Sarangi and Bhubaneswar MP candidate Aparajita Sarangi today fired several salvos by raking up key issues- Odisa Asmita, deep fake videos, Parikrama project, Odisha governance and others.

'A big conspiracy behind the murder of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati'

Senior BJP leader and former Union Minister Pratap Sarangi today stated that there is a big conspiracy behind the murder of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati as his security cover was withdrawn despite threats. CM Naveen Patnaik is to be blamed as the home department comes under him, he said.

Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his disciples were murdered on August 23, 2008 in Odisha's Kandhamal.

There were multiple attacks on Swami Ji for which the government provided PSO and security personnel. But armed guards were withdrawn and no PSO and others were present when Swami Ji was killed. Swami Ji, who was a social activist, was misbehaved when he went to the police station alleging threat to his life. Instead of tightening security, security cover was withdrawn. All the security personnel went for lunch and the incident happened, alleged Sarangi.

“Swami Ji was the centre of Hindu sentiments and it was a big conspiracy and everything happened on the instructions of CM Naveen Patnaik and he is responsible for the murder as security cannot be withdrawn without home department’s order,” alleged Sarangi.

'We Want To Elect Leaders Or Slaves?' - Aparajita Tears Into BJD

Bhubaneswar MP Aparajita Sarangi said, “Time has come to make an important decision and I want to ask whether we are going to elect leaders or slaves. BJD is telling one thing that some BJP leaders including her opposed the Jagannath Parikrama project. I want to make it clear that BJP does development and never opposes development. Rather the party opposed the process and the state government went on back foot.”

According to Sarangi, Odisha government spent Rs 4200 crore for the Jagannath Parikrama Project.

“Bhoomi Putra, a south Indian firm with no prior expertise was entrusted by Odisha government to make the plans. We urge the people to check the credentials of the architectural firm. We want to ask Odisha government and the Sana babu (VK Pandian) that under what circumstances the firm was entrusted to take up the mega project and what was the interest? We said that everybody has to abide by the ASI Act and NMA guidelines as it was the matter of security of Puri Jagannath temple. We told that no big structures can come up within 100 mts of the temple,” alleged Sarangi.

The BJP leader further said that the DPR prepared by the firm which was showed on website was removed by the Odisha government and again DPR was prepared leading to the delay. Question is why wrong DPR was prepared and work taken up without taking into account the temple’s security? The project cost was Rs 4200 crore. Rs 1400 crore was spent for the construction of grand Ram temple in Ayodhya and the entire money was collected through public donation. Emar Mutt and other Mutts were demolished and it was done by Odisha government which was an attack on Odia Asmita,” she said.

'CM Being Isolated And Governance Hijacked By Pandian'

According to Sarangi, it has been five years that a person has hijacked the governance in Odisha. “We have respect for our CM but this Sana (younger) babu has isolated the CM from others. Be it Chief Secretary, DGP and others, nobody is allowed to meet CM without the younger babu’s permission,” said Sarangi.

'Why Are Odisha Consumers Paying Higher For Electricity...?'

When BJD announced its manifesto, it announced that they will not take electricity bills upto 100 units from July. Under what circumstances, Odisha government is providing electricity at Rs 2.52 paisa per unit to a company in Chennai while charging Rs 2.82 paisa per unit from Odisha consumers, questioned Sarangi.

Odisha CM Is Being Controlled Like Puppet: Jay Panda

BJP National Vice-President and party’s Kendrapara Lok Sabha candidate Baijayant ‘Jay Panda’ today said that the Government has been outsourced in Odisha and it is very concerning not only for the BJP but this is also being discussed by people of the state. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also raised this issue, he said.

LIVE NOW | Odisha Elections 2024 Phase 1 Voting

“The person, whom they had elected for 5 years, is being controlled like a puppet. Whenever we see the CM, we only see one person around him- be it in helicopter or on the dais. Why other leaders of BJD are not seen around or with the CM? People need to think how CM Naveen Patnaik was looking prior to 2018 and his condition now,” said Panda.

Panda further said that it hurts him personally as he shared cordial relationship with Naveen Patnaik’s late father Biju Patnaik.

‘CM Naveen Patnaik Has Been Captured’

“I had started my political career under Biju Babu’s direction. Till 2018, CM Naveen Patnaik was not like this and was not controlled by anyone. Odia Asmita has been hurt during this period, after CM Naveen Patnaik was captured. It was during this period that the keys of Ratna Bhandar (treasure trove of Puri Srimandir) went missing,” alleged Panda.

'Deepfake Videos Of Odisha CM'

“Maximum times, Naveen Patnaik’s videos, which are being released, appear as deepfake and prepared through AI. A challenge was given to CM to utter district names from dais without seeing paper so that people can see the difference between real and deepfake videos. Is CM aware of such deepfake videos? People of the state have the rights to know whether the CM is saying himself or it is being done by the person who has captured him like a puppet,” questioned Panda.

According to Panda, lakhs of people of the state might be hurt to see the CM in such a state of affairs and there is a need to rescue him from such captivity and the truth needs to come out.

BJD Failed In 25 Years On All Fronts: Dharmendra Pradhan

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given an agenda to make Odisha the No.1 state. The ruling BJD ruled here for 25 years and failed to ensure this while other states without any resources excelled far better than Odisha, said BJP leader Dharmendra Pradhan.

Also Read | Odisha Elections 2024: EVM glitches, tension outside booth reported; 9.25% polling by 9 am

According to Pradhan, “All leading media houses in Odisha have reported about drinking water crisis, diarrhoea outbreak, collapse of education, health, labour migration and the state of women. PM Modi had raised Odia Asmita issue. Odisha was formed on linguistic basis and one needs to realise where we are standing now.”

BJD Doesn’t Have Courage To Face Common Man: Manmohan Samal

From the trend of the first phase voting in Odisha, it shows that it is going in favour of BJP. This happened due to fighting the elections with collective leadership and accountability, said state BJP president Manmohan Samal.

“Today, BJD leadership does not have courage to face the common man. It is for this reason that the BJD is creating confusion with misleading statements to save their own party by misleading statements and claiming that BJP is trying to dismantle BJD. It shows that they do not have courage to accept defeat. The Gumasta says that he will take Sanyas in case of defeat. In politics, victory or defeat is a natural process. We had demanded details of expenses incurred in various works in Odisha. The BJD doesn’t have any answer and the way the government is functioning here is really concerning,” said Samal.

According to Samal, the people of Odisha have accepted the statements of PM Narendra Modi.

"The way BJD treated its own ministers and MLAs is shameful and now the party is questioning the BJP. Today, we say that 4.5 crore people of the state are with us and they want to change the government. Hence, the BJD has already started keeping money in foreign countries. There is no democracy in BJD and they are pointing fingers at others. BJP will completely ensure fulfillment of each and every thing highlighted and promised in its manifesto,” he added.

Jharigaon BJP candidate attacked at polling booth; police complaint filed

As polling in the first phase progressed in Odisha, incidents of violence were reported from two places in Nabarangpur and Ganjam on Monday. 

The candidate for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Narasingha Bhatra for the Jharigaon Assembly seat under the Nabarangpur Parliamentary constituency was allegedly attacked by a group of people.

'BJP trying to boost sinking morale' 

Responding to the allegations of the BJP leaders, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) asserted that the morale of the BJP in Odisha has gone down as the ruling party is going to win all the four Lok Sabha seats and 90 per cent of the Assembly seats which went to polls in the first phase on Monday.

Addressing a press meet in Bhubaneswar in the afternoon, BJD MP Amar Patnaik said, “Maybe, to boost the sinking morale of their party workers, the five top BJP leaders held the press conference.”

However, the BJD leader parried many questions and issues raised by the BJP leaders.

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  • SOUMYA RANJAN SAHOO , ARACHANA SATPATHY
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