Modi targets Naveen over women welfare, safety in Odisha

Bhubaneswar/Baripada: The new beginning in 2019 would usher in New Odisha, is what the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is claiming ahead of the general elections. After dedicating various projects to the nation from Baripada, Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused the Naveen Patnaik-led BJD government in Odisha of being negligent towards the safety and security of women in the State, while addressing a massive gathering at Chhau Padia in Baripada. Modi also targeted the Congress for misleading people on Rafale deal.

Amid chants of Modi-Modi, the Prime Minister began his speech with ‘Jay Jagannath’ and welcomed the gathering in Odia and Santhali languages.

The PM said, “The government in Odisha is not serious about women welfare programmes as Odisha is lagging behind in women education, health and employment.”

Condemning the Pipili gang rape verdict, Modi said, “The victim has been denied justice. Odisha government should launch a probe into the case again to ensure justice for the victim.”

Highlighting the benefits of universal health coverage scheme Ayushman Bharat, Modi once again urged the Odisha government to implement the Centre’s scheme in the State. “We will always work towards the development of Odisha. Many poor people are deprived of health care and the government should think of how these people will benefit from Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana under Ayushman Bharat scheme. We must work together for a New India and a New Odisha,” Modi said.

Narendra Modi also targeted Kamal Nath-led Congress government in Madhya Pradesh on Vande Mataram row and suspension of pension of those detained during Emergency.

He also congratulated Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for dismissing all allegations of corruption in the Rafale fighter jet deal. “Bofors deal was a scam, but Rafale was a decision taken keeping in mind the national interest. Rafale will bring back Modi to build a new India and remove corruption,” Nirmala had said.

Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan too came down heavily on the Odisha government over chit fund scam in the State. He also stated that the party’s primary aim is to get maximum Lok Sabha seats and at least 100 Assembly seats.

“In line with his vision of Purvodaya and his commitment towards the development of Odisha, PM Modi laid the foundation stones and dedicated various projects for the development of the people of Odisha. The inauguration of a bouquet of projects will ensure prosperity for Odisha,” Pradhan said.

Meanwhile, responding to Modi’s allegation of a faulty probe in the Pipili gang rape case, CM Naveen Patnaik stated, “We are following the case very forcefully.”

Prior to the public rally, Modi laid foundation stones and inaugurated over Rs 4,500 crore worth of projects in Railways, LPG pipeline and Passport Sewa Kendras in the State. Modi dedicated to the nation, the Balasore-Haldia-Durgapur section of LPG pipeline project of IOCL and the Balasore multi-modal logistics park today.

He also unveiled a plaque to mark the commencement of work for the development and conservation of Rasika Ray temple at ancient fort, Haripurgarh. This apart, he laid the foundation stone for the four-laning of various National Highway projects and inaugurated six Passport Seva Kendras. He also flagged off the Tatanagar-Badampahar DEMU Passenger Train through video conferencing.

In his reaction, OPCC chief Niranjan Patnaik said, “How can he (Modi) speak against Naveen Patnaik? If one casts in favour of BJD, it will be considered as a vote for BJP. Both the parties work hand in glove. Does anyone need an evidence for that?”

Refuting the charges levelled by Congress, senior BJD leader, Pratap Sarangi said, “Why would PM Modi engage in a war of words with Naveen? He (Modi) has sought reply from the State government in a symbolic way.”

“The question is not about who targets whom. BJD is a regional party and its fight for upkeep of the interest of Odisha will continue,” Sanjay Das Burma, general secretary of BJD said.