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Pti

New Delhi: Union minister Srikant Jena on Saturday challenged Odisha Chief Minister Navin Patnaik to a public debate on issues affecting the state including mining scam, central assistance to the state and chit fund scam.

"We have written to the chief minister seeking a suitable date and the venue for debate on critical issues affecting the state," Srikant Jena, who was accompanied by Odisha PCC president Jaydev Jena, said here at a press conference.

"Despite claims of development by the chief minister, Odisha is placed at the bottom in all sectors. The state's economy condition deteriorated during BJD rule," the Union minister for chemicals and fertilisers said.

Jena, who is also Congress campaign committee chairman of the state, said, people deserve to know why Odisha is one of the poorest state in the country and migration of unemployed youth is taking place to neighbouring state.

"No growth in agriculture sector has taken place and farmers are being exploited."

Biju Janata Dal (BJD) headed by Patnaik is ruling Odisha for the last 14 years reducing Congress to the margins in the state.

"We are going to the CM's residence in Bhubaneswar on March 10 to finalise the date and venue for discussing these issues," Jena said adding "debate is an essence of healthy democracy."

Slamming Patnaik for blaming the Centre for Odisha's problems, Jena referred to the Raghuram Rajan Committee report which had put Odisha as the least developed state.

Congress also wants to discuss the deteriorating law and order situation and highest rate of electricity rate in the state, he said.

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