Opposition sees ‘vote bank politics’ in CM Naveen’s Surat visit

Bhubaneswar: A day ahead of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s scheduled visit to Surat, Opposition today launched a scathing attack on the ruling-BJD by terming the visit politically motivated and another attempt of the party before 2019 polls to woo voters.

While the BJP said that the chief minister will fail in his attempt to win hearts of the Odia community in Surat, Congress accused the ruling party of being involved in vote bank politics.

Eyeing the upcoming elections, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik is now shedding crocodile tears. The State government has done nothing for non-resident Odias in the last 19 years. Maximum people in Surat are from CM Naveen Patnaik’s constituency in Ganjam and it proves State government’s failure in creating job opportunities, alleged Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

“He (Naveen) never cared for the people in Surat and the people there have already made up their mind to oust the Naveen Patnaik government,” Pradhan added.

Pradhan further said that by not implementing Ayushman Bharat Yojana in Odisha, CM Naveen is keeping Odia people and non-resident Odias deprived of medical services. “If the CM really cares for the people of Odisha, I request him to forget his pride and implement the scheme in the State,” he said.

Senior Congress leader Narasingha Mishra said CM Naveen’s Surat visit is not something unexpected.

“As most of the people living in Surat belong to Ganjam district where his constituency falls, the CM wants them to vote for him,” said Mishra adding that Naveen might have forgotten them earlier but suddenly remembered them as elections are around the corner.

Similarly, Congress leader Srikant Jena termed CM’s Surat visit as a drama and an attempt to secure votes of Ganjam residents. He further said that Odisha CM should create opportunities for textile sector in Odisha and revive the defunct Odisha Textile Mills (OTM).

BJD spokesperson Pratap Deb on the other hand condemned the allegations levelled by BJP and Congress.

“The allegations prove that both the parties BJP and Congress are frightened. I want to remind both Mishra and Pradhan that ministers from BJD visit Surat every year since BJD came to power in the State. CM Naveen loves people of Odisha and has worked for them residing in different parts of the country,” he said.

Deb further stated that the allegation that the CM’s visit is politically motivated is unacceptable and the party strongly condemns it.