Pradeep Pattanayak

Training his gun at the BJD dispensation in the state, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national vice-president Baijayant Panda, who on Saturday addressed an election campaign meeting in Padampur, reiterated that double-engine government is what Odisha needs the most. 

At around 12 noon, a chopper carrying Panda and national spokesperson Sambit Patra landed at Bilaspur under Jharbandh block. Local leaders and people welcomed the national leader duo and led them to the meeting spot. 

Panda launched a broadside against the State government, enumerating burning issues like drinking water problems, health problems, non-implementation of Ayushman Bharat Yojana, farmers’ problems, lack of irrigation facilities in 33 percent agricultural land, district status still elusive to Padampur and Bargarh-Padampur-Nuapada railway project remaining non-starter. 

“I have been acquainted with the problems here because I have been visiting the area since my childhood days as it is my uncle’s village area. Nothing has changed in the 22 years of the BJD government. The problems are still there where they used to be then,” Panda observed. 

Hitting out at the BJD government, Panda said they (BJD) are not implementing the Central government’s yojanas, thus creating a stumbling block in the development of Odisha, particularly the Western Odisha. 

“After tasting defeat in Dhamnagar and witnessing the favourable situation for the BJP here, they have resorted to violence. Three days ago, they attacked our workers. But, these tactics won’t work. They didn’t work in Dhamnagar and so will be here,” Panda added. 

“With your blessings, the lotus will bloom in Padampur. The change in Odisha has already been started from Dhamnagar in coastal Odisha. In Western Odisha, it will start from Padampur,” Panda emphasised. 

National spokesperson Patra was also vituperative. He attended meetings at Bilaspur, Kumir and Jagdalpur and the common thread of his speeches was his sharp verbal attack on the BJD government on several issues. 

“People have a common complaint that the genuine beneficiaries are not getting the money meant for them under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. People have immensely benefitted from the vaccines sent by the Centre. Now, people wish the state government should implement Ayushman Bharat Yojana in Odisha,” said Patra. 

In its immediate response, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) said they have resorted to tricks to disorientate people. 

“They are complaining that development in different sectors has suffered in Odisha. But they were in charge of the concerned departments during the coalition government. Why did they not take initiative then,” asked BJD vice president Prasanna Acharya. 

At the same time, while BJD leaders including Samir Dash and Ranendra Pratap Swain campaigned for Barsha Singh Bariha, PCC president Sarat Pattanayak, senior leaders Niranjan Patnaik and Jayadev Jena too led the campaigning from the front for their candidate Satyabhushan Sahu. 

“Why they (BJP and BJD) are making farmers cry? They were in the coalition government from 2000 to 2009. They had then promised that they would provide irrigation facilities to all blocks. Have they made good on that promise,” asked PCC chief Pattanayak.