Stung by Rahul Gandhi’s criticism of Odisha government, ruling BJD on Sunday said the Congress vice president knew nothing about the state and that he was only mouthing the words of his party leaders.
“He (Rahul Gandhi) does not know anything about the history, geography and economics of the state (Odisha),” BJD vice president and state health minister Damodar Rout said.
Mr. Gandhi was merely speaking the words of Congress leaders who were rejected by the people, he added.
“We suggest Mr. Rahul Gandhi to consult Montek Singh Ahluwalia and the (Union) Finance Ministry for knowledge on the economic situation of Odisha before making any remark on the state’s development,” he said.
Mr. Rout claimed that Odisha has registred greater economic progress than the national average under BJD-rule and had earned praise from United Nations for the successful handling of the situation during Cyclone Phailin.
“Both the Planning Commission and the Finance Ministry have also lauded the progress of Odisha,” he said, adding, it is the only state which had been successful in reducing poverty by above 24 per cent.
On Mr. Gandhi’s claim that Centre provided maximum funds to Odisha, Mr. Rout hit back saying: “The Centre is not doing any mercy towards the state.”
“The state on the other hand is denied its genuine rights under the federal system of governance. They (the UPA government) have been neglecting Odisha,” he added.
Opposition BJP too criticised Mr. Gandhi for his remark on the mining scam. “The Shah panel has held both the Centre and the state responsible for the illegal mining activities. Why did the Centre delay in ordering a CBI probe into the mining scam?” BJP spokesman Suresh Pujari asked.
Holding Congress responsible for poverty in Odisha, he said the party had been in power both at the Centre and in the state for a long period. “Therefore, Congress is also responsible for the poverty of Odisha.”
Mr. Gandhi, who held his first roadshow in the state today, accused the Naveen Patnaik-government of failing to implement various schemes in the state and misappropriating central funds.