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Mrunal Manmay Dash

Bhubaneswar: Coming down hard on the Odisha government and the ruling Biju Janata Dal, the Bharatiya Janata Party State President, Sameer Mohanty on Sunday said that development still eludes Odisha despite staying under the regime of a single party (BJD) for 20 straight years. CM Naveen has been lying to the public to undermine Centre's commitment for Odisha, alleged Mohanty.

Mohanty's statement came during party's Padayatra programme from Bhubaneswar to Nayagarh demanding justice for five-year-old girl Pari today.

Countering CM Naveen's reiteration of Special Category Status demand for Odisha, Mohanty said that PM Modi has disbursed enough funds to the State during last six years which nullifies the need for special category status.

He alleged that, the state is still doing badly in many sectors. "Can the CM answer why are we lagging behind many states even after people vote the same party to power in five consecutive terms in Odisha"?

"While CM Naveen has been trying to cash on the vote bank by invoking Odia culture, he should explain first, why did it take almost 20 years for him to accord state song tag to 'Bande Utkal Janani,' asked Mohanty.

The proposed Odia University at Satyabadi in Puri is still on papers. "When will the work of University begin," Mohanty further asked.

Comparing PM Modi's concern for Odisha with that of Naveen, Mohanty said PM Modi has included Manabasa, Chhau Dance and Ravana Chhaya in the National list for Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH). Even Paika Revolution has got National recognition after erection of memorial in Khordha. PM Modi has even gone to the lengths of tweeting in Odia to wish people during many festivities.

From Draupadi Murmu to Shaktikanta Das and Girish Chandra Murmu, Centre has put many Odias in vital positions, said Mohanty.

"PM Modi has established Odia Chairs at BHU and JNU. He has even felicitated and provided due recognition to many eminent personalities of Odisha. Kamala Pujari, Haladhara Nag, Jitendra Haripal and Damayanti Beshra received Padma Shri during Narendra Modi's regime." said Mohanty.

Blaming CM Naveen and BJD for 'Brahma Bibhrat' during Nabakalebara rituals of Lord Jagannath, Ratna Bhandar dispute and Bagala Dharmashala issue, the State saffron party unit chief asked, "BJD is behind all kinds of disruptions in Puri Srimandir. Who conspired to stop Rath Yatra this year?"

Mohanty also mentioned how eminent sculptor, Padma Vibhushan Raghunath Mohapatra was sidelined by BJD after losing a Rajya Sabha seat to cross voting, but it was PM Modi who nominated him to the Rajya Sabha.

Earlier on December 18, CM Naveen had slammed both Congress and BJP on the issue of Special Category Status. “Both the National parties – BJP and Congress had kept Special Category Status as their number one point in the manifesto of the 2019 general elections. But like always, they forgot it conveniently after the polls. On the other hand, BJD will continue to fight for it and keep reminding national parties about their step motherly treatment of Odisha. The very purpose of forming a separate state is to preserve, protect our unique identity and continue to fight for the people of Odisha,” Naveen had stated while addressing a conference of Biju Yuva Janata Dal.

(Edited By Suryakant Jena)

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