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BJD, Congress Criticise PM Modi for 'Ignoring' Western Odisha

BJD, Congress Criticise PM Modi for 'Ignoring' Western Odisha

Senior Congress leader and MLA from Bolangir, Narasingha Mishra, alleged that the BJP leadership ignored western Odisha, as done by the BJD government in the state.

Bhubaneswar: A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inducted only one of the eight BJP MPs from Odisha, the ruling BJD and opposition Congress Friday accused him of having ignored the western region of the state.

"By inducting one of the eight elected MPs in his new council of ministers, Prime Minister Modi has let down the people of western Odisha. Not a single MP from the region has been included in his ministry," BJD leader and minister Sushant Singh told reporters here.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, in contrast, has included five MLAs from western Odisha in the state cabinet, according due importance to the region, Singh said.

Senior Congress leader and MLA from Bolangir, Narasingha Mishra, alleged that the BJP leadership ignored western Odisha, as done by the BJD government in the state.

"There are five BJP MPs from western Odisha, but none of them found a place in the new ministry... Modi has proved himself to be anti-tribal," Mishra said.

He added that Sundergarh MP Jual Oram was also dropped from the cabinet this time, and his ministry was given to former Jharkhand chief minister Arjun Munda.

Oram, however, maintained that he was not worried over denial of ministerial berth. "I had got an opportunity last time and some new person got the chance this time. This is a healthy practice in democracy," he said.

Criticism by the BJD and the Congress came while referring to the induction of Balasore MP Pratap Sarangi in the council of ministers, as a minister of state. Besides
Sarangi, Dharmendra Pradhan was also made a cabinet minister in the Modi government.

Singh said Pradhan was not among the eight Lok Sabha MPs of the BJP, who were elected from the state in the recently concluded polls, as he is a Rajya Sabha member from
Madhya Pradesh. Of the eight BJP MPs, five were elected from the western region, but none of them was made a minister at the Centre, Singh said.

BJP's Odisha in-charge Arun Singh, however, rejected the Odisha minister's allegation and said Pradhan hailed from the western part, and has retained the petroleum ministry, bagging the steel ministry in addition.

BJP state president and newly-elected MP from Kalahandi, Basant Panda, claimed that Odisha has got two ministers in the Union council of ministers.

BJP MLA from Sambalpur, Jaynarayan Mishra, also rejected the BJD and Congress's allegations.
first published:May 31, 2019, 22:16 IST