Senior BJP leader and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Tuesday termed the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) government in Odisha as “corrupt” and “inefficient” and claimed that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s “mask” is gradually being unveiled. Patnaik was virtually marketing his self-styled “transparent and honest” image of his government to win successive polls, Pradhan said, adding that the “people are in no mood to be fooled by Patnaik’s rhetoric.”
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Addressing a public meeting at Mulabasanta village in Kendrapara district while campaigning for the BJP candidates in the ongoing panchayat elections, the Union Petroleum and Natural Gas minister said, “Patnaik has ruled the state for almost two decades. But the state continues to remain in bottom rung of poverty index. Poor are getting poorer while the rich people who enjoy ruling BJD’s patronage are getting richer.”
Even as the unemployment graph has reached alarming proportion, Patnaik has made no effort to generate employment for locals despite promises in poll manifestos, he said. Claiming that the trends in the first phase of panchayat polls is a clear indicator of the fact that the Patnaik-led BJD government is losing ground in the state, Pradhan said the impressive performance of BJP candidates is mostly due to people’s change of mind. The state unit of BJP claimed that its candidates would win more than 70 Zilla Parishad seats of the total 188 ZP zones where polling were held on Monday.
“Patnaik is surrounded by bunch of corrupt ministers, MPs and MLAs. They have plundered poor investors’ money by conniving with chit funds,” he said adding that demonetisation has severely hit the “corrupt” BJD leaders. The Jan Dhan accounts are flush with Rs 750 crores additional deposits in Odisha and there is every possibility that corrupt BJD politicians’ ill-gotten money has made way to these accounts, he alleged.
He also slammed the State Government and accused it of hijacking Centre’s welfare programmes. “Chief minister Patnaik and his coterie has mastered the art of wooing the voters projecting Centre-funded projects as their own,” Pradhan alleged.