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Billboards portray neglect cry

Bhubaneswar/Balangir, April 6: The BJD today sharpened its attack on the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre for neglecting the state.

The BJD has come out with advertisements and hoardings accusing the Centre of not giving its legitimate share to the state.

UPA chairperson and Congress president Sonia Gandhi during her visit to Nuapada district, a part of the KBK region, on Saturday that the Centre had been liberal in giving central assistance to the state. She said that the state had got more assistance from the UPA than from the NDA.

However, the BJD today stuck to its “anti-Centre” stand, accusing the Centre of denying special status to the state and not allocating enough funds even though the state gave Rs 14,000 crore towards railway revenue. It also blasted the UPA government for non-revision of mineral royalty that results in Rs 5 crore loss per day and also for negating its proposal to impose tax on super normal profit made by mine owners.

BJD president Naveen Patnaik today visited pockets of west Odisha, including Balangir, a part of the KBK districts.

Apparently referring to Sonia’s statement that Rajiv and Rahul had a special soft corner for the region, Naveen said: “My father Biju Patnaik had dreamt of a developed Koraput-Bolangir-Kalahandi (KBK) region. To make his dream true, we implemented the Biju KBK Yojana for the region after Centre stopped its special funding for KBK districts.”

He was campaigning for his Doon School mate A.U. Singh Deo. While AU Singh Deo is contesting for the Balangir Assembly seat, his son Kalikesh is seeking re-election from the Lok Sabha seat. Naveen also visited Bargarh and Jharsuguda.

Stating that the party was fighting the polls with development as the main plank, Naveen said: “Our state is ahead of others in many fields. Our achievement in the field of land rights to tribal speaks volume for this.”

State unit Congress president Jayadev Jena also toured the KBK region to step up his party campaign.

Reacting sharply to Naveen’s charge that the national leaders were not seen in the state post-Phailin, BJP leader Biswa Bhusan Harichandan today shot back: “Where was he (Naveen) when mining and coal scams rocked the state?”