BJP President Amit Shah today stepped up attack on both Congress and BJD for “neglecting” Odisha and vowed to transform it into number one state in the country if his party is voted to power in 2019. “The BJD dispensation in Odisha has failed miserably to ensure development during its 17-year rule and the previous UPA government at the Centre neglected the state,” he told public meetings in various places, including Arei and Panikoili, on the second day of the BJP’s grassroots connect drive. Odisha, he said, is still in the grip of poverty and backwardness due to the “misrule and inefficiency” of the BJD and Congress governments. People now realise that BJP alone is capable of pulling the state out of the morass and ushering in rapid development, he said. It is a paradox that the state, which is endowed with abundant mineral and natural resources, is left far behind in terms of development, he said, adding BJP’s popularity in Odisha was growing fast as the state remained poor despite substantial assistance from the Centre. The volume of assistance increased substantially only after NDA came to power, he claimed.
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Slamming Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi for his criticism of the Narendra Modi Government, Shah said while scams involving crores of rupees took place under the UPA dispensation, not a single case of corruption has been reported during the last three years of NDA rule. He claimed that states ruled by BJP have registered remarkable development and the party is determined to steer Odisha on the path of development. The BJP supremo exhorted the party workers to work hard to ensure that the party wins 120 out of the 147 assembly seats in Odisha in the 2019 polls. Attacking the Naveen Patnaik government, he rattled off details of funds given to the state by the Centre and claimed that the former failed to utilise them properly.
The BJP president, who is on a three-day visit to Odisha to bolster the saffron party’s base in the eastern state, attended booth-level workers’ programmes at Arei in Binjharpur. He also addressed members of party booth committees of several north Odisha districts at Panikoili. Stressing that the NDA government is committed to Odisha’s development, Shah said the benefits of assistance from the Centre were not percolating down due to the state government’s failure to perform. The people of Odisha are yet to get electricity and drinking water even after 17 years of BJD rule, he said, adding the number of jobless educated people is growing alarmingly. While only 22 per cent households in the state have toilets, 35 per cent families are yet to get electricity.
The youth of Odisha are forced to migrate for work and contribute to the progress of other states due to “lack of opportunities at home”, Shah said. He asserted if BJP was voted to power, unemployment and poverty would disappear. Shah said development was taking place at full pace in BJP-ruled states which are properly implementing schemes funded by the Centre. The BJP chief said he had been visiting Odisha at frequent intervals and could clearly see the love and affection of the people for his party was “growing consistently”. During his visit to Binjharpur in the district, Shah held talks with five villagers followed by lunch at a Dalit home. He was accompanied by BJP national general secretary and party’s Odisha in-charge, Arun Singh, Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan and state party president Basant Panda among others.