[Watch] Odisha Bypoll: Padampur To Get District Status In 2023, Declares Naveen As He Hits Campaign Trail

Padampur: Declaring that Padampur will get the status of a district in 2023, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday accused BJP of shedding ‘crocodile tears’ for the poor by telling lies.

Addressing a series of meetings to campaign for BJD for Padampur Assembly bypoll, Naveen said the demand to make Padampur sub-division a district will be fulfilled in 2023.

“I don’t believe in words. I believe in action. You want Padampur to become a district and your dream will be fulfilled in 2023,” the Biju Janata Dal President said during a whirlwind tour of the Assembly segment addressing meetings at Jharbandha, Paikamal and Padampur.

Locals of Padampur in Bargarh have been demanding special district status for several years while the demand for separate district gained momentum during by-election campaign. Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had on Thursday challenged Naveen on the issue.

The Chief Minister began his speeches by uttering ‘Jai Nrusinghanath’, the presiding deity of the region, and offering tributes to eminent Odia poet Gangadhar Meher. This was Naveen’s first bypoll campaign tour since Bijepur Assembly by-election in 2019.

Mounting a scathing attack on BJP, Naveen asked the saffron party to refrain from misleading the people by indulging in politics over issues of the poor like the PMAY.

Though the Odisha government secured a prize from the Centre for completing five lakh houses under Prime Minister Awas Yojana (Gramin) per year, BJP MPs with political motives exerted pressure and stopped the scheme, depriving ten lakh people of houses, he claimed.

The BJD, he said, is resolved to fight for the rights of kendu leaf pluckers, farmers, tribals, women and the downtrodden in Padampur, which has a large tribal population.

Kendu leaf plucking is a major economic activity for the landless and the poorerst of the poor in Padampur which falls in the western district of Bargarh.

Accusing the BJP-led government at the Centre for imposing high rate of GST on trade in kendu leaf, he said, “Do you know the GST on gold? It is only 3 per cent, while the Centre charges 18 per cent GST on kendu leaf trade. The BJP has been shedding crocodile tears for the poor, the kendu leaf pluckers, farmers and others,” Naveen alleged.

The BJD supremo blamed BJP for delay in payment of crop insurance under Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana and said many farmers in Padampur have not received their insurance claims so far.

“When the aggrieved farmers stopped the BJP candidate Pradip Purohit from filing the nomination paper for the by-poll, the NDA government released the funds within 48 hours,” he said.

Naveen said his government has taken a slew of measures for the welfare of the farming community like the input subsidy, KALIA (Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation) Yojana and Rs 20,000 every year for irrigation and promised that it will continue to work for their welfare.

Slamming BJP leaders for their alleged “defamatory words” against BJD’s woman candidate in Padampur, Barsha Sing Bariha, he said “It is unfortunate to criticise a woman. I have fielded an educated woman. Bless her by casting votes in the conch symbol (of BJD)”.

Naveen also countered BJP’s allegation that the proposed Bargarh-Nuapada road via Padampur could not be implemented due to the state government’s inaction. “The BJP leaders including two union ministers are telling lies and misleading people of Padampur”.

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