The ruling BJD led by Naveen Patnaik today strongly opposed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remark of acute poverty and starvation in Odisha. “The Prime Minister’s statement on Odisha is grossly unfortunate. If Modiji is so worried over Odisha’s poverty, had he given special package for the state,” asked BJD spokesman P K Deb.
The BJD spokesman was reacting to Prime Minister Modi’s statement at an election rally in Uttar Pradesh today. Referring to BJP’s success in the three-tier panchayat elections in Odisha, Modi said: “Odisha, where there is so much poverty, starvation, unemployment and where the BJP did not even have foothold to place its flag, people have given so much support that everyone is taken aback…even the poor of Odisha have come with the BJP.”
Stating that the Prime Minister should not forget that his party (BJP) was in alliance with BJD in state government for nine-long years, Deb asked: “Has he (PM) been able to keep his promises that he made to the people during his subsequent visit to Odisha?”.
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The BJD spokesman said: “Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley during his recent visit to the state had lauded the high rate of poverty reduction in Odisha. Now, the Prime Minister has been citing Odisha as a poor state.”
Dubbing the Prime Minister’s statement as an “insult” to the people of Odisha, Deb said the BJP leaders should not be under the impression that it is now in a position to bring a change in the government by winning 292 Zilla Parishad seats in the three-tier Panchayat polls.
Meanwhile, opposition Congress also criticised the Prime Minister’s statement. “If Modi knows that there is acute poverty in Odisha, what has his government done to uplift the poor? What the Vajpayee government had done for the Kalahandi- Bolangir-Koraput region?,” asked Leader of opposition Narasingha Mishra of Congress.