BJP chief Amit Shah today attacked the Naveen Patnaik-led BJD government in Odisha, likening it to a "burnt transformer". The BJP has increased the tenor of its attacks on the BJD government in the run-up to simultaneous national and assembly elections in the coastal state. Amit Shah, in a rally in Odisha today, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government was a "high-capacity electricity production unit which sends development for Odisha", news agency ANI reported.
Mr Shah asked the people to "throw the burnt transformer, not replace it." He also launched a blistering attack on Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, saying he was unable to deliver speeches in his mother tongue Odia and had to resort to using notes as a crutch.
Invoking Odia pride, Mr Shah cited the formation of Odisha on the basis of language and said it had been 19 years since the state had an Odia-speaking chief minister.
Mr Shah's remarks came on a day when Odisha observed "Utkal Divas", a celebration of the formation of the state as a separate province on April 1, 1936.
"While returning from this rally, take a pledge not to elect an English-speaking CM. You may be Odia or Telugu. But keep it in mind that the English-speaking CM cannot understand your agony and feeling," said Mr Shah, according to news agency PTI.
"Choose a chief minister who can understand your pain and sorrow in your own language. Only BJP can give such a chief minister and not BJD," he said. "How can someone who doesn't know Odia solve the problems of the Odia people?" he added.
Calling Mr Patnaik's attitude towards Odisha "step-motherly", the BJP chief asked people to elect a "young" chief minister from the BJP, without taking a name.
Odisha will vote in four phases on April 11, 18, 23 and 29 for its 21 Lok Sabha seats and 147 assembly seats.
The BJP had won a single Lok Sabha seat from the state in 2014, while the BJD had swept the election with 20 seats. In the assembly elections, the BJD won 117 of the seats.
(With Inputs From PTI And ANI)