BJP leaders spar over Central drought relief aid

Bhubaneswar: The issue on release of Central assistance for Odisha to mitigate drought has apparently brought out cracks in the BJP, with two groups giving different versions on it.

While senior BJP leader Bijoy Mohapatra asserted that the Centre has declared to release Rs 815 cr and the State government is yet to receive the package, party’s State president Basant Panda and Union minister Jual Oram sticked to their yesterday’s statements contrary to Mohapatra’s.

“The grant order has reached and the State government will soon receive the amount. Since it was declared in the budget session, it will take little time. I think the people who are opposing the fact, are ignorant of the matter and are not properly following it,” Mohapatra said.

This irked Panda and Oram who had maintained yesterday that the State government has misled the House by announcing that the Centre has not released the drought relief package for Odisha.

“I am sure that the Centre has released the amount. I have the record with me. If media wants, I can produce the proof,” Oram told media persons.

The saffron party president’s reaction was also quite annoying who yesterday said of the Rs 815 crore the Centre has deposited Rs 707 crore in the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) account.

“I don’t want to comment on others statements. But I have shared the fact only,” Basant Panda quipped.

Interestingly, Union Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan when asked about it, remained tight-lipped over the matter and mentioned that the Centre has announced the package for Odisha.

“There should not be any doubt over the matter. The Centre has declared to release Rs 815 crore towards drought assistance,” Pradhan averred.

Though it is only the State government which can clarify on the issue more than others, the whole thing has supplied sufficient fodder to the ruling BJD to attack the saffron party.

“This has only exposed how co-ordination is lacking among the top leaders. After the organisational poll, the division among themselves is clearly visible,” BJD spokesperson Sameer Dash said.