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BJP-BJD spat over invite for Ujjwala launch gets shriller

Bhubaneswar: The war of words between BJP and BJD over Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, which was launched in Sambalpur two days ago by Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan in the absence of local MLA Raseswari Panigrahi, is getting shriller by the day.

BJP today reacted sharply to the statements made by the BJD legislators on the matter yesterday. “The remarks made by the BJD leaders regarding the launch of the Ujjwala Yojana in Odisha are unpalatable and indecent. The chief minister has laid the foundation stone of all centrally funded tribal hostels in the State, but the Union minister has not been invited to even a single event,” BJP spokesperson Sajjan Sharma said here today.

In his reaction, BJD Spokesperson Pratap Deb dubbed Sharma’s statement false. “Union Tribal Affairs minister and senior BJP leader Jual Oram has been invited on all such occasions. He may not have attended some functions due to personal reasons. So, their (BJP’s) allegation about not inviting the Union minister is not based on fact,” Deb said.

While supporting his party legislators who criticised the saffron party, Deb said; “I don’t find anything wrong in the comment given by the BJD MLAs when Nuapada legislator Basant Panda, who is BJP’s State president, and other BJP MLAs were invited but local representative was not.”

The BJP invited sharp criticism from the ruling party after flagging off the central scheme in Sambalpur without inviting local MLA Raseswari Panigrahi.

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The woman lawmaker had expressed grief over the issue saying it was unfortunate. “I would have attended the function, which was held in my locality, if I had at least been informed over phone. This is unfortunate,” Panigrahi had said yesterday.

Similarly, her party colleague Rohit Pujari, who representd the Rairakhol constituency in the same district, had flayed the saffron party for reducing the government programme to a party event.

“They thought it fit to invite their party leader like Suresh Pujari, who has been rejected by the people, but did not call the local legislator. They have turned the government function into their party programme,” Pujari had reacted.

Fuming over the failure to invite the local representative, BJD MP from Sambalpur Nagendra Pradhan had skipped the launch ceremony though he himself had been invited.

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