Exuding confidence that the BJD will be re-elected to power in Odisha, party supremo and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to attend his swearing-in ceremony after the declaration of poll results on May 23.
The coastal state is holding simultaneous Assembly and Lok Sabha elections in four phases. Addressing a rally in Balasore parliamentary seat, where the election is scheduled to be held on April 29, Patnaik asserted that his party has secured adequate votes in the first three phases to form the next government in the state.
“Yesterday (Tuesday), the prime minister said he will visit Odisha after the exit of the BJD government. The BJD has already secured a majority in the first three phases. I politely invite Modiji to attend the BJD government’s oath-taking ceremony as a guest,” he said.
Patnaik’s statement comes a day after Modi, during an election rally in Kendrapara, said, “Naveen babu aapka jana taya hain (Naveen Babu, your exit is certain).”
In a scathing attack, the BJD boss, who is seeking a fifth consecutive term in the state, alleged that Modi visits Odisha only during elections, not in times of crisis.
“The prime minister did not come to Odisha during floods, cyclones or drought. He did not have time then. Now, since the elections are underway, he is frequenting the state to shed crocodile tears,” he claimed.
Citing an instance of the Centre’s contribution for Balasore’s development, the CM said his government spent Rs 250 crore for setting up Fakir Mohan Medical College and Hospital here, while the Central government paid Rs 100 crore.
He called upon the “swabhimani”(self-respecting) Odias of Balasore to give a “befitting reply to dirty politics”. Taking an exception to Patnaik’s allegations, senior BJP leader and Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the prime minister visited the state on multiple occasions in the past five years.
“Patnaik is misleading people with his lies. The prime minister visited Odisha multiple times in the past five years to inaugurate development projects. The chief minister accompanied Modi during these visits,” Pradhan noted.
Violence and lies are the basis of the BJD’s election campaign, he claimed. “Not just Modi, senior saffron party leaders, Narendra Singh Tomar, Uma Bharati, Piyush Goyal and Nitin Gadkari, have also visited the state for various reasons. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had spent a night in Koraput after reviewing the situation in the Maoist belt of the state,” he added.