BJP president Amit Shah today lashed out at the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) government in Odisha for “poverty and backwardness” in the state and expressed confidence that his party would form the next government there. Addressing a BJP meeting in Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s home district Ganjam, Shah said Odisha had remained “backward and poor”, despite the “substantial” assistance from the NDA government at the Centre. The BJP chief chose Ganjam to launch his three-day campaign in Odisha to bolster the saffron party’s base in the eastern state. His aim during the campaign would be to “strengthen the local connect” in all the districts through the ‘Mo Booth Sabuthu Majboot’ (My booth is the strongest) programmes organised by his party. Asserting the Narendra Modi government’s commitment to Odisha’s development, Shah said the Centre’s assistance to the state had registered a “steep increase” in the three years of the NDA rule.
He, however, alleged that the benefits of the assistance were not reaching the people due to the state government’s “failure to perform” and said the people of Odisha were yet to get electricity and drinking water even after 17 years of BJD rule. Unemployment among the educated in the state was growing alarmingly, while toilets were still a “distant dream” for the people in the villages, said the BJP chief. Odisha, he said, continued to be “poor and devoid of development”, despite being endowed with rich minerals, natural resources and a long coastline. Thus, he added that the youth of the state had to work elsewhere and contribute to the progress of the other states due to the “lack of opportunities at home”. Claiming that if the BJP was voted to power, Odisha would be “transformed into an advanced state like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh”, where the party was in power, Shah said unemployment and poverty would disappear from the state.
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He said he had been an “active” BJP worker for 35 years and thus, was aware of the “ground realities” in Odisha and added that he was “confident” of the party’s victory in the next Assembly election in the state due in 2019. The BJP chief said he had been visiting Odisha at frequent intervals and could clearly see that the love and affection of the people of the state towards his party had been “growing consistently”.
“We will not rest until a BJP chief minister takes oath in Odisha. We will win the 2019 Assembly election with a two- thirds majority and form the government here,” he said, adding that booth committees would be formed in all the 36,000 polling booths of the state “in a time-bound manner” to strengthen the party base at the grassroot-level.