The BJP and the Congress slammed Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for staying away from a key NITI Aayog meeting presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi Sunday. Union Minister and BJP leader from Odisha Jual Oram denounced Patnaik’s decision not to attend the meeting.
“He has taken a constitutional oath to be the Chief Minister, but these days he is less interested in his constitutional responsibilities and more interested in his party responsibilities,” Oram said.
The Odisha Congress also criticised Patnaik’s decision. “NITI is the highest forum in the country,” said Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) President Niranjan Patnaik. “Which other forum will the CM use to highlight Odisha’s issues?” The Congress leader said CMs from opposition parties, such as Mamata Bannerjee, attended the meeting. “Will the CM next ask BJD MPs not to attend Parliament?” he asked.
BJD spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP Pratap Keshari Deb said Oram’s statements demonstrated the BJP’s “political arrogance”. “NITI Aayog is not a constitutional body. The Odisha government has already submitted a written document articulating its demands and concerns. Previous CMs have also not attended the meeting,” he claimed.
Meanwhile, sources in BJD told The Indian Express that the Odisha government had not sent a representative to attend the meeting in place of Patnaik.