Odisha Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik Sunday asserted that his party would bag all the 21 Lok Sabha seats in the state and be in a position to play a decisive role in the formation of government at the Centre.
Addressing a rally in Nayagarh, he said that no national party would be able to get a majority in the upcoming elections.
“No national party will be able to win a majority in Lok Sabha election this time. BJD will have a decisive role to play in the formation of the next government at the Centre,” Patnaik said while formally kick-starting his party’s poll campaign.
The Assembly elections in the state are also scheduled to be held along with the Lok Sabha polls in four phases next month. In 2014, BJD had won 20 out of the 21 Lok Sabha seats and 117 of the 147 assembly segments.
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Lashing out at the BJP government for not fulfilling its poll promise of granting special category status to Odisha, the four-time CM said the party’s victory would provide an opportunity for putting an end to the “historical injustice” meted out to the state.
Assuring the people that the fight for securing special category status for Odisha would continue, he said, “If Odisha is granted special category status, the state will benefit immensely. Our youth will get employment and more funds would flow into state for ensuring speedy development.”
The CM also brought up the issue of the poor railway network in the state. While the Railways was earning profits to the tune of Rs 20,000 crore from Odisha, no concrete step has been taken to strengthen the network in the state, Patnaik said. “Isn’t it Central negligence,” Patnaik asked.
Patnaik also said the Centre was collecting thousands of crores as revenue from the coal sector in Odisha, while the state was getting only “pollution and dust”.
Pointing out at the BJP leaders’ failure to stand up for Odisha’s rights, Patnaik accused them of being controlled by their high command sitting in New Delhi. “Our (BJD) remote control lies with the 4.5 crore people of Odisha. We have been fighting for Odia pride and safeguarding the interest of Odisha,” he said.
Highlighting the measures taken by BJD to empower women, he said 33 per cent of Lok Sabha seats in the state have been reserved for women for the coming election.
Patnaik further affirmed the state government’s commitment towards the welfare of farmers and said he was closely monitoring implementation of Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA) scheme, which has benefited 35 lakh farmers families in Odisha.
He said the opposition parties were “spreading lies” about the scheme and assured that no farmer would be left out in the direct benefit transfer scheme and it cannot be stopped by anyone.
(With PTI inputs)