Bhubaneswar, July 10: BJD president and chief minister Naveen Patnaik was today raring to take on the Centre, launching a frontal attack on the Narendra Modi-led NDA government.
Naveen cast aside his rather soft policy of maintaining equal distance from both the Congress and BJP, singling out the latter and its government at the Centre. "They are shedding crocodile tears for Odisha without any real concern for the state," he said, while addressing the extended executive committee meeting of his party here.
Naveen Patnaik with senior BJD leaders at the party’s extended state executive meeting in Bhubaneswar on Sunday. Picture by Sanjib Mukherjee
He did not spare the Congress either, though he did not mention by the party by name. He said national parties were exhibiting unctuous concern for the state. "Their anti-Odisha stand has added insult to our injury. Whether it's the UPA government or the NDA government, the cause of the state has been constantly ignored."
Naveen's hardening of stance against the BJP and the NDA government came in the wake of two Union ministers from the state - Jual Oram and Dharmendra Pradhan - targeting his government on a range of sensitive issues such as the Mahanadi river dispute, the money deposit collection scam and the killing of innocent civilians in a crossfire between security forces and Maoists in Kandhamal district yesterday.
The state is aggrieved that the Centre had chosen to maintain silence on the issue of unilateral structures being built across the Mahanadi by the BJP-led Chhattisgarh government, Naveen said. "When elections come, national parties promise the moon to the people of Odisha and shed crocodile tears. After coming to power, they forget their promises and our people."
Naveen reminded the gathering how the BJP in its 2014 election manifesto had promised special category status for the state, but the Centre had rejected its demand twice.
On the issue of Chhattisgarh constructing dams and barrages on the Mahanadi, he said: "The Centre is playing politics over Mahanadi through the Chhattisgarh government. The people of the state will give a befitting reply to the Centre. The Mahanadi river is associated with the life of people of Odisha. BJD will not tolerate this injustice," he said.
The chief minister recalled how the Centre had extended its support to Andhra Pradesh over the Polavaram project and declared it a national project, while closing its eyes to the danger that the project posed to lakhs of tribal people of Odisha.
He said that when thousands of crores had been released to BJP and NDA ruled states for drought relief, the funds released to Odisha did not match the requirements of "our people." Naveen said Odisha was also being neglected in the field of industrialisation. "The South East Industrial Corridor stops before its enters Odisha," he said, adding that though five medical colleges had been sanctioned by the Union government, the funds were stopped after work on them began.
Without naming the BJP, he said some parties were busy organising Vikash Utsav, but the country could not progress with such programmes. The chief minister urged party workers to fan out to the rural pockets and take the party's message to the people. He also assured party workers that problems in their respective areas would be looked into. "You give it to me in writing," he told them while reiterating that the party stands for " Maa, mati and manush".
The chief minister asked the youth, student and women's wings of the party to submit their action plans within the next 15 days. The party adopted six resolutions, the major ones pertaining to the Mahanadi dispute and revision of coal royalty. It also resolved to celebrate Biju Patnaik's birth centenary in a big way.
After a meeting of the BJP's state functionaries and 36 organisational heads, the BJP said the ruling BJD had failed on all its promises such as providing pucca houses, electrification, ration cards to beneficiaries, providing employment and even on the front of health. Law and order situation has collapsed.
Union minister of state for petroleum and natural gas Dharmendra Pradhan said: "The (Naveen) government is yet to lodge a written complaint with the Central water commission on the Mahanadi dispute. Why was it silent for the last 16 years? It is a result of the state government's inefficiency?"
Refuting the claims of the BJD government, he said the government had constructed three lakh houses in three years but claimed that it had constructed 10 lakh houses in two years' time.
Pradhan disputed the claim of the state government of having a surplus budget, saying that the loan component of the budget was 17 per cent.