Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: The ruling BJD today came down heavily on the remarks of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that Odisha stands as the leading state in the country in terms of poverty and starvation.

Terming the statement of the Prime Minister as indecent and grossly unfortunate, BJD spokesman Pratap Keshari Deb said, the former, before giving such wayward statements, should remember that his party was in alliance with the BJD since nine years in the formation of the government in the state. “Secondly, if he claims Odisha as a poverty-stricken state, has he given special package to the State during his tenure? Thirdly, has he been able to keep his promises that he had made to the people during his subsequent visit to Odisha?” Deb asked.

Maintaining that the statement of Modi is an insult to the people of Odisha, he said, “If BJP is under the impression that it is now in a position to bring a change in the government by winning 292 Zilla Parishad seats in the recently concluded three-tier Panchayat polls, nothing is more pitiful than this."

Talking to media persons in New Delhi, Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said, "Can the Odisha government deny the plight of Dana Majhi, the death of more than 100 children in Malkangiri district and the much-talked about Nagada malnutrition deaths?  If Prime Minister has mentioned about these issues, it is high time that the state government should seriously think about the socio-economic development of the state.

“Modi has said nothing wrong. It is obvious that if a party ruling for more than 17 years is told about its incompetence, it will hit back. Instead of targeting the Prime Minister for his remarks, BJD should realise that the results of the Panchayat polls is a clear indication that the people of Odisha desperately want a change in the government," Pradhan pointed out.

The Prime Minister while addressing an election rally at Gonda in Uttar Pradesh earlier in the day had dubbed Odisha as a poverty-stricken state. "There is so much poverty in Odisha that if you search for poorest districts in the country you will find them in this state. If topics on starvation, illiteracy and unemployment are discussed, people give example of Odisha."

Referring to the success of the BJP in the Panchayat polls, Modi said, "The position of BJP before the rural polls was not strong in Odisha. But the people of the state this time came out and lent massive support to the party which has sent shockwaves among other political parties in the country. I am sure if the poor people of Odisha have stepped forward in support of the BJP, nothing will remain for other parties in the coming days."