Regional Parties Will Play Kingmakers In 2019 Polls: Naveen

Dhenkanal: BJD president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday reiterated that regional parties will play kingmakers at the end general elections this year.

“The regional parties will play a stellar role in the formation of the government at the Centre, as no national party will be able to secure a majority in 2019 polls,” the chief minister said at a public meeting in Dhenkanal town.

Later, addressing a meeting in Athamallik, Naveen took a dig at the Centre for its gross apathy towards Odisha. “The Centre is trying to stop KALIA, the flagship scheme launched by my government, which has benefited about 40 lakh farmers till date. Let me tell you, no one can stop the KALIA scheme. I assure you that my government will credit the two pending instalments to bank accounts of farmers on day one of forming the government,” he said.

Citing instances of central apathy like blockage of Mahanadi water, slashing of post-Matric scholarship for Scheduled Caste students and paltry central assistance for those in the state affected by natural calamities, the chief minister said the BJP, which in its 2014 poll manifesto had promised to double the minimum support price (MSP) of paddy, is yet to fulfil its promises till date.

He also criticised the BJP for resorting to hooliganism in the ongoing elections. “Saffron party workers and leaders have damaged EVMs, as they are going to be defeated by a wide margin of votes. They have no respect for the law of the land,” he said.

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