Sharmili Mallick

The politics over the absence of photographs of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on posters at several vaccination sites in Odisha intensified on Wednesday.

Tension ran high at a vaccination centre organised at the Gandhi Smruti Bhavan in Balasore Town after some BJP members tore placards distributed among the beneficiaries by the concerned officials, deployed for vaccinations, for having BJD logo and photograph of CM Naveen Patnaik's while PM Modi's image was not found on those.

"PM Modi provided us Covid-19 vaccines in only nine months. But instead of printing the image of PM Modi on the posters and placards, BJD is hoodwinking the people of Odisha by putting the pictures of CM Naveen on it. People should know that PM Modi is providing the vaccines with Central funds," slammed State BJP member, Shobna Mohanty adding that the State government should feel ashamed for hijacking the welfare scheme sponsored by the Centre.

The entire incident took place while Union Minister Pratap was on a visit to the vaccination centre earlier in the day to review the process and encourage people to come forward for the inoculation.

"PM Modi has arranged the free vaccines for the citizens of the country. The patry (BJP) has arranged several programmes on the occasion of the death anniversary of Syama Prasad Mukherjee today and the visit to the vaccination centre is a part of it. All of us are visiting the vaccination centres to review the process, supply and problems, if any. As an MP from the constituency, I have come to review the inoculation drive here and not to check any photographs," said Sarangi while replying media persons on the purpose of his visit to the centre.

"I did not see anyone tearing anything. I was inside the centre," added the Union Minister in his reply to  media representatives.
It may be noted that on June 21, some BJP members had allegedly snapped the ribbon meant to be cut to kick off the drive at Gandhi Smruti Bhawan vaccination centre in Balasore Town. They also argued with government officials present at the centre and after they found the posters and banners of Prime Minister Narendra Modi missing at the site, though those of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik were prominently displayed.

Further launching a scathing attack on the BJD-ruled Odisha Government over the alleged poster politics by the regional party, Sarangi said, "The massive vaccination drive is sponsored by the PM Modi led-Central government. Naveen Babu has no role in it. Why is the confusion being created in the minds of the people of the State."

Criticising the BJP members act at the vaccination centre, Balasore MLA Swarup Kumar Das took a dig at the party and said, "This is sheer lawlessness. Where were they since the last three months and suddenly the BJP members and Minister came to review the vaccination process here? Why has the vaccination certificate the picture of PM Modi," he asked.