Naveen questions absence of national leaders during calamities in Odisha

Bhubaneswar/Berhampur: Ruling BJD president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday said leaders of BJP and other national political parties visit Odisha during elections and disappear when people are in trouble.

“Be it Phailin (2013), Hudhud (2014), Titli (2018) and subsequent drought and floods, Central leaders never visited the State. But as soon as elections came, leaders of BJP are now just shedding crocodile tears for the people of Odisha,” said Patnaik.

“I am all along with you (people) and will remain so. These leaders will come only during elections, make promises to get votes and not be seen when you are in trouble,” Patnaik said at an election rally at Gopalpur in Ganjam district.

The BJD chief’s statement came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed concern over the “slow development” of Odisha during his visit to Kalahandi district on Tuesday where he had appealed to the people to bring change by dislodging the BJD government.

Patnaik, who undertook a 60-kilometer long marathon roadshow along Berhampur Lok Sabha constituency comprising seven assembly segments, addressed two public meetings during which he said accused the Centre of blocking the release of benefits under KALIA scheme.

“Around 40 lakh farmers had got the benefits under the scheme. However, another 20 lakh farmers are unable to get the benefits because it was blocked by the BJP,” he claimed.

Patnaik sought clarification from the BJP leadership on its failure to provide jobs to youths and also asked about the fate of the proposed railway wagon factory at Sitalapalli promised by the Centre.

He also alleged that the Centre has never cooperated with the state during calamities and also did not release monthly scholarship amount of SC/ST students of the state for two years and crop insurance to the farmers.

Meanwhile, BJP rejected allegations made by Patnaik.

“The BJD government is playing politics in the name of KALIA scheme. Why the state government did not give list of farmers to the Centre for PM-KISAN scheme,” asked BJP state vice-president Samir Mohanty.