Patnaik to become former CM of Odisha after June 4, BJP to win 75 assembly seats: Amit Shah

Bhadrak/Jajpur (Odisha), May 28 (PTI) Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday asserted that Naveen Patnaik will become former CM of Odisha after June 4, exuding confidence about the BJP forming the next government in the state by securing more than 75 seats in the 147-member assembly.

Shah, addressing back-to-back election rallies in Bhadrak and Jajpur, held Patnaik responsible for the “poverty” in Odisha despite it being rich in natural resources.

He also claimed that the saffron party is set to win 17 of the 21 Lok Sabha seats in Odisha. The Lok Sabha and assembly elections are being held simultaneously in the eastern state.

“Come June 4, and Naveen babu will no longer remain the chief minister, he will become the former CM… BJP is set to win 17 Lok Sabha seats and 75 assembly constituencies in Odisha,” he said.

“Naveen babu has failed to usher in change in the state, and he is responsible for the prevailing poverty here,” Shah said, adding, the last 25 years of BJD rule were “lost years” for Odisha.

The home minister said the BJP will ensure that the next chief minister is fluent in Odiya, and understands the state’s language, culture and tradition.

“Should a ‘Tamil babu’ run the government from behind the scene… By casting your vote in favour of the lotus symbol, bring a ‘jan sevak’ to rule the state in place of an officer,” he said, in an apparent reference to Patnaik’s close aide and BJD leader V K Pandian.

Stating that lakhs of youths were migrating to other states in search of work, Shah said: “Once the BJP forms government in Odisha, we will set up industries so that youths don’t have to look for jobs elsewhere.”

He also hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for providing free 5 kg of rice to the people of Odisha, and criticised Patnaik for distributing the rice in jute bags with his photographs.

“PM Modi’s government is ‘chawal wali sarkar’, while Naveen Patnaik’s government is ‘jhole wali sarkar’,” Shah said.

Hitting out at the Patnaik-led BJD government over its alleged inaction against culprits of ponzi scams, he asserted that the BJP will return money to people cheated by chit-fund companies within 18 months of forming government in Odisha.

He said the Centre has provided Rs 7 lakh crore to the state, but the funds “did not reach the beneficiaries”.

“The BJD government did not implement the Ayushman Bharat scheme, too, depriving healthcare benefits to lakhs of people in the state,” Shah alleged.

Referring to Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK), the home minister said Congress avoids talking about it because they are “scared” of Pakistan.

“PoK belongs to India and will remain so,” added Shah.

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