Odisha CM paid Rs 1.89 cr to Salman Khan for self-promotion, says BJP

Bhubaneswar: At a time when Odisha government is patting its own back for organising a magnificent opening ceremony for the men’s Hockey World Cup, BJP’s Lekhashree Samantsinghar today accused Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik of spending crores of public money just for taking selfie with Bollywood stars and his own promotion.

In a tweet, Samantsinghar criticised Patnaik for the payment of Rs 1.89 crore to actor Salman Khan who attended the second inaugural ceremony of the Hockey World Cup held at Barabati stadium in Cuttack yesterday.

Sharing a photograph of the fund transfer made through RTGS in her tweet, Lekhashree alleged that, “This is the fees ‘best administrator’ Naveen Patnaik has paid Salman Khan for selfie and promotion of his self-image. Someone tell Naveen this Rs 1.89 crore is our hard-earned money not his personal property that he can give away to save his dying image.”

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Responding to Samatsinghar’s allegations, BJD spokesperson Sulochana Dash accused BJP of giving misleading information and bringing false accusations.

“BJP is bringing false allegations against Odisha government as the funds were spent by Hockey India and its sponsors,” clarified Dash.

Hockey India too responded on such allegations doing rounds in media and tweeted, “HI would like to heartily thank all who have supported us for love of Hockey. In response to some mischievous media reports, we clarify, that the opening ceremony in BBSR and celebrations in Cuttack are financially supported by sponsors of Hockey India and not by Govt. of Odisha.”

Earlier today, Opposition parties targeted the state government for inviting Bollywood stars to perform at the opening ceremony of the Hockey World Cup at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.

Opposition alleged that BJD is relying on the superstars as the popularity of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is declining in the state.

“Government is spending a lot on superstars and CM Naveen is clicking selfies with them rather than utilising the funds in promoting hockey. This clearly shows that impact of Naveen is gradually declining in the state,” BJP legislator, Rabi Naik said.

“This is only cheap publicity of the Chief Minister which will not help them in getting votes. The only good thing is that the CM managed to bring the superstars to Odisha for the World Cup’” said senior Congress leader Sura Routray.

BJD refuted the charges and said that this shows the jealous attitude of the Opposition.

“It seems that the BJP and Congress do not want Odisha to be well known at the International level as they are showing a negative gesture and passing negative comments since the start of the World Cup,” BJD Spokesperson, Pratap Deb said.