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Dharmendra Pradhan Defends PM Modi’s “Odisha Poverty” Jibe


25 February 2017

Hrushikesh Mishra


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Bhubaneswar: On the sidelines of Odisha unit BJP’s Vijay Utsav at its party headquarters here on Saturday afternoon, Union Petroleum Minister and BJP Odisha’s poster boy Dharmendra Pradhan defended Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Odisha Poverty/Illiteracy Jibe” on Friday at an election rally in Uttar Pradesh that has stirred a hornet’s nest among BJP’s arch rivals ruling BJD and main opposition Congress.

Convening a press meet at the party headquarters, Pradhan said, “Both ruling BJD and the opposition Congress should accept the harsh reality.”

Substantiating his defense in PM Modi’s favour, the Union Petroleum Minister flaunted the Raghu Rajan Panel Report of 2013 constituted during the Congress-led UPA Government at the Centre then.

“I would like to place the Raghu Rajan Committee Report before you. The report has already been published in a section of the press. During the report, BJP was not in power at the Centre in 2013. BJP has not influenced it. This report proves the growth index of India as had been reviewed. Odisha has been found in the report ‘most backward and least developed State’ among the States. If Naveen Babu doesn’t like to agree with this report then nothing to say. The Chief Minister should answer on it. Let him claim that no one from his Hinjili assembly constituency ventures out as migrant labourers.”

On the contrary, Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee treasurer Mohammed Moquim at a press meet convened at the Congress Bhawan here remarked, “The way Prime Minister Narendra Modi has depicted the picture of Odisha at an election rally in Uttar Pradesh has hurt the four crore people of Odisha. We would like to question the BJP that they ruled Odisha for nine years as an ally of BJD. Then NDA Government was at the Centre led by BJP Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Nine-year-time was enough for them to develop the State in the fields of poverty, unemployment, education. We strongly condemn the way PM Modi has portrayed a bleak image of Odisha.”

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Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister, Petroleum

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Mohammed Moquim, Congress Leader, Odisha