Naveen Patnaik Keeping Odisha 'Backward', Says Amit Shah

Amit Shah said only the BJP is capable of transforming Odisha into an advanced state.

Naveen Patnaik Keeping Odisha 'Backward', Says Amit Shah

Amit Shah was on a three-day visit to Odisha. (PTI)

New Delhi:  BJP president Amit Shah on Thursday sharpened his attack on Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and accused him of always "flying" to places while the state languished in backwardness.

"I have been in Odisha for the last three days and visiting places. But, I am travelling by road and not flying by helicopter like Naveen Patnaik," he said winding up his three-day tour to the state as part of BJP's drive to strengthen the party at the grassroots.

The BJP chief, who attended meetings at several places including Basantpur in Khurda district, alleged that the "high-flying" chief minister, who boarded a chopper or a plane wherever he visited, had failed to grasp and address the people's problems.

In a stinging attack on Mr Patnaik over poverty and backwardness in the state, Mr Shah claimed that during his visit he had sensed that the people of Odisha had made up their mind to throw the BJD out of power as they were fed up with 17 years of "misrule."

"I can clearly see love and affection among the people for (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi and the BJP. While the people of Odisha are now with the BJP, our party is also eager to serve them and pull the state out of poverty and backwardness," Mr Shah said.

With the BJP focusing on Odisha to expand its base ahead of the 2019 Assembly and Lok Sabha elections, the saffron party chief said the state would not be able to witness development and progress as long as the BJD was in power.

Mr Shah, who visited several houses and interacted with people from different sections, including party workers from the booth and the panchayat levels, said only the BJP was capable of transforming Odisha into an advanced state.

Accusing the BJD regime of "failing miserably" to ensure development despite the huge flow of central funds, the BJP chief said the BJD government had "failed" to utilise the money and implement different schemes properly, leaving the state in the grip of poverty and backwardness.

Voicing confidence that BJP would win the assembly elections with two-third majority in 2019 and form the next government in the state, he said people now realised that BJP alone was capable of pulling the state out of the "morass" and usher it in rapid development.

The BJP president asked the party leaders and workers to make people aware of various schemes and programmes launched by the NDA Government for the development and progress of the state.

They should also tell people about the "failure" of the BJD government on all spheres, he said.

The BJP chief, who had launched his three-day grassroots connect drive in the state from Naveen Patnaik's home turf Ganjam on July 4, said it was a paradox that a state, endowed with abundant mineral and natural resources, was languishing in poverty.

Claiming that states ruled by the BJP had registered remarkable development, he said the party was determined to steer Odisha on the path of speedy development.

The people of Odisha are yet to get electricity and drinking water even after 17 years of BJD rule, he said.

The BJP chief claimed that the number of jobless educated people was growing at an alarming rate while only 22 per cent households in the state had toilets and 35 per cent electricity.

The youth of Odisha were forced to migrate for work and contribute to the progress of other states due to the "lack of opportunities at home", Mr Shah claimed.

The BJP supremo was accompanied by senior leaders like Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan, party general secretary Arun Singh, who is also BJP's state in-charge and state party chief Basant Banda. 

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