BJD, Congress take ‘Padayatra’ routes

Bhubaneswar: Hectic political activities were witnessed on the 143 birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on Tuesday in Odisha with both the ruling BJD and opposition Congress launching parallel ‘padayatras’ to ‘expose’ each other.

While BJD announced plans to expose UPA government’s alleged corruption during the “padayatra”, Congress pledged to highlight ‘misdeeds’ of Naveen Patnaik regime and make people aware of different welfare schemes launched by the Centre.

The BJD padayatra will culminate on Jayaprakash Nayaran’s birth anniversary on October 11 while Congress plans to conclude its programme on the birth anniversary of Utkalmani Gopabandhu Dash on October 9.

Launching the 10-day padyatra here, Chief Minister and BJD chief Naveen Patnaik said his party would draw attention of people to a series of corruption in the UPA government.

“There is no point in claiming credit over central assistance to the state. You (Centre) have been taking thousands of crores of rupees from Odisha in the name of different taxes. Whatever the state got is negligible,” Patnaik said at a gathering before launching the padyatra.

While Patnaik and the local MP along with all the three MLAs of Bhubaneswar were present here, the party MLAs and leaders held similar programmes in all the districts.

Though BJD had been undertaking “Padayatra” on Gandhi Jayanti every year, Congress adopted the “Padayatra” route to woo people more this time.

Congress which was in an upbeat mood, mainly after the September 6 massive rally here, began its week-long padyatra at Swaraj Ashram in Cuttack. Besides OPCC president Niranjan Patnaik, Union Minister Srikant Jena, former Chief Minister Giridhar Gamang, former Union Minister K C Lenka and others attended the programme.