After the first phase of elections, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has started promising voters in Odisha a subsidised ration package of rice, dal and salt for Re 1, prompting the BJD to call it a “lie” and “an act of desperation”.
“On behalf of the party, I announce… if the BJP forms a government in the state, poor people will receive for Re 1 5 kg rice, 0.5 kg dal and 0.5 kg salt. The BJP will take care of nutritious food for the poor,” Pradhan said on Saturday during a rally at Chowduar in Cuttack district.
Pradhan said a “frightened” Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is “misleading” voters that if his government falls, then subsidised rice at Re 1 will be stopped.
Claiming that Patnaik is “accomplished in the art of hospitality on borrowed money”, Pradhan said, “The cost of rice (in open market) is around Rs 32 per kilo. Modi gives Rs 29 as subsidy on every kilo, while Naveen Babu gives only Rs 2.”
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Pradhan’s promise seems to be an expansion of the BJP’s pledge in its manifesto for the state elections in Odisha, which are being held alongside the general elections.
The party had already pledged to provide 3 kg dal and 1 kg of salt free of cost to all BPL Tribal and Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group households to counter malnourishment and anaemia.
Calling the new promise the “biggest lie of 2019 elections”, BJD spokesperson Lenin Mohanty questioned, “Which BJP-ruled state has implemented this?”
“Odia people will not believe this. This promise is an act of desperation and does not make sense,” said BJD MP from Cuttack and the party’s candidate Bhartruhari Mahtab.