Modi’s silence on Naveen sets political tongues wagging

Bhubaneswar: A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated the IOCL refinery in Paradip to the nation, political circles in Odisha are abuzz over the his refusal to utter a word about Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, either in his praise or in condemnation, in his address at the function.

While Congress attributed Modi’s silence to the alleged understanding between BJD and BJP, the saffron party said the Prime Minister did not criticise Patnaik out of courtesy. On its part, the ruling BJD played it safe saying it is the Prime Minister’s prerogative whether to criticize someone or not.

Congress leader Pradeep Majhi said, “Had the Prime Minister criticised Naveen, Modi would have invited trouble in the coming days it would have displeased the Chief Minister. If Modi had praised Patnaik, the state unit of BJP, which is in an aggressive mode, would have gone unto back foot. Therefore, Modi gave a neutral statement at the function and did not say much.”

Refuting the charges, Union minister Jual Oram said, “From the point of view of courtesy, it would have been incorrect to criticise him (Patnaik). When there are so much weaknesses of the State government, it would have been appropriate to praise him either. In the circumstances, it was better to be neutral.”

Scotching rumours, Kalikesh Singh Deo, spokesperson of BJD Parliamentary party, said, “If he (Modi) wants to say anything good, it’s his wish. We will lend our support to the programmes of the Centre which are in the interest of the State whereas we will oppose schemes which will put the State into loss. We should judge the NDA government and the Prime Minister on the basis of work, not think of these trivial matters.”