Bhubaneswar: Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan today played the ‘Odia card’ to counter the allegations of the Congress over the recent Rajya Sabha deputy chairman election following which political slugfest took the centre stage in Odisha politics.
Following a slew of questions and allegations being made by the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Niranjan Patnaik over BJD’s support to BJP, Pradhan today threw the ball to BJD’s court by saying that someone from Odisha could have been elected for the post.
“We never insisted that someone from BJP would only be elected for the deputy chairman post. An Odia could have also been chosen and the people who are questioning and shouting on the matter should have taken the initiative. Why didn’t they name an Odia for the post?” questioned Pradhan.
He further said that for the last 40 years, the deputy chairman post of the Upper House had been with the Congress and it was the responsibility of the NDA to snatch it from the party.
Taking a jibe at Pradhan, Patnaik said while the Union Minister speaks against the Odisha government, the State Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik talks to PM Modi and Amit Shah over phone at night.
“I don’t know whether Pradhan knows it or not but if he knows about the talks between them and is still making such statements, he should clarity on the matter, he added.
On the other hand, reacting strongly to Pradhan’s statement, BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra said that the Union Minister’s comments are 'misleading' as there was never any discussion on fielding a candidate from Odisha during the deputy chairman election.
“In the two months, there had been no discussion on an Odia being field for the post. So, from where did the Union Minister get such clue? He should clarify if it’s another illusion of his mind,” said Patra adding that such statement from Pradhan is a sign of his disappointment and helplessness.
Moreover, Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar, who reached Odisha today on a 3-day tour, also clarified on the issue and said like BJD many other parties also supported BJP during the deputy chairman election but they are not part of the NDA.
Taking a dig at the Congress, he further said: “If one doesn’t get something, it becomes sour grapes.”