Bhubaneswar: Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday refuted the allegation made by BJP president Amit Shah about the “step-motherly attitude” shown towards west Odisha by the state government.
“Our government has never neglected west Odisha as you can see that a number of works are done for the overall development of the region,” Naveen told newspersons on Friday while reacting to Shah’s allegations.
Shah, who visited Kalahandi and Balangir districts during last two days, had made the allegation of neglect of west Odisha as a major issue at the youth convention in Balangir and farmers’ convention at Bhawanipatna on Thursday.
“The Koraput-Balangir-Kalahandi region is the most backward region in the entire country,” said Shah.
West Odisha is the focus area for the BJP as the party has been targeting to capture the region in the 2019 elections. Out of 10 Assembly seats in its kitty, as many eight seats of the BJP are located in west Odisha. The party had also fared well in the region during the 2017 panchayat polls.
The BJP’s state president Basanta Panda and legislative wing leader K.V. Singh Deo also belong to the region.
Apart from addressing public meetings, Shah had taken part in road shows enroute Bhawanipatna to Balangir. Besides, he also dined in the house of a Dalit, Maheswar Suna, in Deogaon of Balangir district as part of a strategy to connect with people.
The BJP chief had highlighted migration and acute drinking water problems in the region during his visit. Shah said that en route Balangir he visited a village where there was acute shortage of drinking water and the villagers were forced to drink fluoride-containing water. “I was shocked to see that youths of the village are in the grip of dreaded fluorosis and various kidney ailments. The village is only a few kilometres away from a river. A small check dam could have solved the potable water problem of the village. But, Naveen babu is sleeping,” he said.
Stating that that migration was a worrisome issue in west Odisha, Shah said: “Wherever I go, people say that the youths of their place have gone to work somewhere outside the state”.
But, BJD leaders claimed that their government had carried out a lot of development works in the region. “The people have reposed their faith on Naveen Patnaik, which is reflected in the results of recent bypoll in Bijepur Assembly constituency in west Odisha,” said veteran BJD leader from the region Prasanna Acharya.
Naveen also laughed at the claim of Shah that the BJP would win more than 120 seats in the 2019 elections. “I certainly can’t find any basis of that claim,” he said…
*Original article online at https://www.telegraphindia.com/states/odisha/naveen-bins-amit-shah-s-neglect-cry-221475?ref=odisha-new-stry