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Dilip Kumar

Bhubaneswar: A day after the State Cabinet approved creation of a separate Mission Shakti Department, Opposition BJP and Congress have lashed out at the ruling BJD while accusing it of playing women card ahead of the urban and panchayat elections.

The Opposition parties have rubbished government's claim that 'Mission Shakti department would help strengthening the self-help groups (SHG).

Women and Child Development Department Minister Tukuni Sahu on Saturday said that separate department would strengthen the self-help group (SHG) initiatives undertaken by different agencies and departments and bring it under one platform to provide greater focus, synergy and avoid duplication in activities.

BJP questioned government's motive behind creation of special department after a gap of 20 years.

"Why a separate department was created after 20 years? Why it was not created in 2001 or 2002? Is it a symbol of respect to women? asks BJP  national spokesperson and MP Aparajita Sarangi.

Similarly, Congress dubbed the government's move as an attempt to grab women votes in the upcoming civic body and panchayat polls.

Congress MLA Sura Routray said "The separate department has been created only to garner women votes in the forthcoming urban and panchayat polls.

BJD, on the other hand, hit back at the Opposition parties for downplaying government's initiative for women empowerment.

"It is unfortunate that Opposition parties are not bothering about the development of women but only their votes. When importance of a department rises, it is given a special department status," senior BJD leader and MLA Sashi Bhusan Behera said.

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