Odisha Election Heat: PM Modi, CM Naveen Patnaik Trade Barbs

Bhubaneswar: Hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a scathing attack on BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik at an election rally in Odisha, the latter responded with a strong retort.

In his video message, Patnaik highlighted several key issues, questioning PM Modi’s commitment to the state and its people.

Patnaik began by asserting that the people of Odisha were well aware of his track record over the past 24 years. He criticized PM Modi for forgetting the Odia language, despite its classical status, and allocating funds to Sanskrit while neglecting Odia. The Chief Minister also pointed out PM Modi’s oversight regarding Odissi music, which Patnaik had proposed for classical status twice, only to be rejected each time.

The omission of Biju Patnaik, a prominent figure in Odisha’s history, from the list of Bharat Ratna recipients did not escape Patnaik’s notice. He questioned whether other deserving sons of Odisha were similarly overlooked. Furthermore, Patnaik reminded PM Modi of his unfulfilled promise to double the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for Odisha’s farmers and the need to prioritize infrastructure development, such as the Coastal Highway.

Patnaik emphasized that remembering Odisha only during elections was insufficient. He challenged PM Modi’s memory of promises made in 2014 and 2019, urging him to deliver on those commitments.

In a bold declaration, Patnaik asserted that the BJP would not win the hearts of Odisha’s people even in the next 10 years. With the blessings of Lord Jagannath, the Biju Janata Dal aimed to secure its sixth consecutive term in government.

PM Modi, on the concluding day of his two-day tour in Odisha, threw down the gauntlet to Patnaik. He challenged the Chief Minister to name all 30 districts and their headquarters without referring to any papers. PM Modi questioned Patnaik’s understanding of the state’s geography, emphasizing that leadership required familiarity with local issues.

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