Devbrat Patnaik

Bhubaneswar: Millions of Odias were elated to see Air India kick off its direct flight services between Bhubaneswar and Surat on January 20. Barely three days elapsed and then surfaced a tug of war between the BJP and BJD over whose impetus drove AI to commence its operations.

It was Odisha Speaker Surjya Narayan Patro who sparked off a controversy when during the 2nd Odisha Mahotsav celebrations in Surat, said the BJP is trying to take the credit of the venture which was actually initiated by CM Naveen Patnaik.

"The last time CM Naveen Patnaik was here in Surat, he had assured the Prabasi Odias of direct flight services between Bhubaneswar and Surat and he had also written to the Centre in this regard. Whatever BJP claiming is false," said Patro.

Responding to the Speaker's comments, BJP Spokesperson Golak Mohapatra said that both Centre and State Government have roles in development. "How far is it virtuous for a Speaker to propel his party's agenda? He should maintain the dignity of his post. And I feel this is a conspiracy of BJD to devalue the contributions of Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan. Everyone is aware of the fact that Odisha is witnessing speedy development after 2014 only due to efforts of the Union Minister."

Targeting the Odisha Assembly Speaker, BJP senior leader Prithviraj Harichandan said, "Supreme Court has directed Speakers to stay away from party politics, but he (SN Patro) is probably not aware of it and doing politics unnecessarily. "

Notably, BJP MP from Bhubaneswar Aparajita Sarangi had also met Union Civil Aviation Minister Harshdeep Singh Puri and Surat MP with regard to the introduction of a direct AI flight between Bhubaneswar & Surat. She had taken to Twitter to mention that her request has been granted by the Civil Aviation Ministry.