Odisha Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal president Naveen Patnaik attacked the BJP-led Central government at a series of election campaign meetings in Bolangir and Kandhamal parliamentary constituencies on Thursday.
Mr. Patnaik first addressed a public meeting at Biramaharajpur under the Bolangir parliamentary constituency. From there he reached the Kandhamal parliamentary constituency to address public meetings at Purunakatak, Kantamal, Daringbadi and Phiringia.
At all public meetings, he alleged that the Centre was conspiring to stop the Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA) scheme of the State government that has already benefited 40 lakh peasants. The Chief Minister promised that on the first day of his next government, two instalments of the scheme worth ₹10,000 will be disbursed to farmers who have not benefited so far.
Mr. Patnaik criticised the Central government for failing to keep its promise of doubling the minimum support price of paddy. He asked why the Centre had stopped financing the State’s KBK Yojana and scholarship funds for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe students.
At meetings in Kandhamal district, he lamented that even after the State government had provided land and support, railway tracks have not reached the area.
Addressing public meetings at Khallikote and Kavisuryanagar under the Aska parliamentary constituency, BJP leader and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan hit out at Mr. Patnaik for saying the BJD will play a crucial role in government formation at the Centre if there was a fractured mandate.
Mr. Pradhan asked why the Odisha CM wants a weak government at the Centre that cannot give a fitting reply to terrorists and enemies. He alleged that while Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants a strong government at the Centre, leaders such as Mr. Patnaik and those of the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ wanted a weak government for their own gains.