PM Narendra Modi’s remark that Odisha is a poverty-stricken state has drawn protest from the Biju Janata Dal and the Congress. The remark, made by Modi during an election meeting in Gonda in Uttar Pradesh, has come days after BJP’s good show in panchayat elections in Odisha. Hailing the party’s performance, Modi said: “There is so much poverty in Odisha that if you search for the poorest districts in the country, you will find them in this state…I am sure if the poor people of Odisha have stepped forward in support of the BJP, nothing will remain for other parties in the coming days.”
Countering Modi, BJD spokesperson Pratap Keshari Deb said the PM had insulted Odisha. “Before making such statements, he should remember that his party was in an alliance with the BJD for nine years. He claims Odisha is a poverty-stricken state, but has he given any special package to the state during his tenure?
Leader of the Congress in Assembly, Narasingha Mishra, too, slammed Modi. “Didn’t his party know about the poverty of Odisha when it was in alliance with the BJD for nine years?”
But senior BJP leader and Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan said: “Modi has said nothing wrong. It is obvious that if a party ruling for more than 17 years is told about its incompetence, it will hit back.”
Panchayat polls are a clear indication that the people of Odisha desperately want a change in the government,” Pradhan added.