With seven union ministers visiting different districts of Odisha and undertaking review of various central schemes being implemented in the state, the ruling BJD Saturday said the people will not accept the inspector raj manner” of the central government.
While five central ministers reached Odisha on Friday, two others did so on Saturday.
The cudgels for BJD was taken up by party MLA Sashibhusan Behera, who hit back at the comment made by Union Minister of State for Home Nityananda Rai during his visit to Cuttack on Saturday.
Speaking at a press conference in Cuttack, Rai said It appears that the benefits of different central schemes are not reaching the beneficiaries as desired. The state government’s inept handlings of central schemes are indicated”.
Countering the comment, Behera said it is not proper on the part of union ministers to behave in an inspector raj manner. The people of Odisha will not accept it as they know how the state government has been implementing the different welfare scheme. The union ministers should not behave like inspectors.
The senior BJD leader had said on Friday that there is nothing wrong in union ministers visiting the state and reviewing central schemes but they should concentrate on official work and not indulge in politics.
The visit of the seven central ministers just days after BJP Odisha in-charge Sunil Bansal’s tour has created speculations that the saffron party is focussing on the coastal state ahead of the 2024 simultaneous Lok Sabha and state election.
There are even whispers in the corridors of power that the union ministers’ visit will be followed by CBI and ED raids in the state as in West Bengal and Maharashtra. Union Minister of State for Tribal Affairs and Jal Shakti Bisheswar Tudu did not deny or affirm when quizzed by journalists, saying, “What is the work of the CBI and ED? Wherever there is corruption, they will raid and it is their duty. If there is corrupt practice, the central agencies will do their duties notwithstanding the political affiliation of the accused persons”.
The union ministers who are visiting Odisha are Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Tribal Affairs Minister Arjun Munda, Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ashwini Choubey, Environment, Forest and Climate Change and Labour and Employment Bhupender Yadav, and Union Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Nisith Pramanik, besides Rai and Tudu. Rai besides being critical of the BJD government in the state claimed that BJP is gaining ground in Odisha with each passing day.
From winning just one Lok Sabha seat in Odisha in 2014, we won eight seats in 2019. In the coming days we may scale up to 16 and then from 16 to 20. We may also win all the 21 seats of the state,” he said.
BJP national vice-president Baijayant Panda said that the union ministers will visit the state every month for two days as part of the party’s strategy ahead of the 2024 elections. The visit of the union ministers will have a positive impact on BJP’s rank and file across the state, he added.