Hitting the campaign trail for Padampur by-election, Odisha Chief Minister and BJD President Naveen Patnaik on Friday slammed the Centre raising several issues including imposition of 18 per cent GST on Kendu leaf.
Patnaik on Friday visited the Padampur Assembly segment and addressed public rallies at Jharbandh, Paikmal and Padampur blocks of Padampur assembly constituency. He spoke a few words physically at the stage and than a video speech of the CM was played at the public rallies.
He said it is very sad that the BJP government at the Centre has levied 18 per cent GST on Kendu leaf.
“Do you know how much GST is levied on gold? Only three per cent GST is levied on gold. Gold businessmen will give only three per cent but the poor Kendu leaf workers have to pay 18 per cent GST,” Patnaik said, adding he will fight for them at the grassroots in Delhi.
The BJP leaders are shedding crocodile tears for the Kendu leaf workers, he added.
He blamed the Centre for delay in payment of crop insurance under Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) and said many farmers in Padampur have not received their insurance claims so far.
When the aggrieved farmers stopped the BJP candidate from filing the nomination paper for the by-poll, the NDA government wakes up within 48 hours, Patnaik said.
On the pressure of Odisha BJP leaders, the Central government has stopped 25,000 houses under Prime Minister Awas Yojana (Gramin) in Padampur area, he said, adding, if the Centre will stop the PMAY houses, the Odisha government will provide houses to its people.
“The BJP promised to double the MSP during 2014, but did it happen? They have neglected in supplying fertilisers, they also neglected in lifting paddy from the state. They also neglected giving loans to the farmers,” the Chief Minister stated.
On the proposed railway project via Padampur, the BJD chief said, “Two Union ministers announced here that the railway project will be taken up once the state government provides the land. I want to ask the Union ministers to kindly inform me about the alignment of the railway line. How much land is required in which village? Have they done the survey and prepared the DPR?”
Condemning the BJP leaders for their alleged “defamatory words” against BJD’s candidate 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.”
The Chief Minister also assured the public that their demand for Padampur as a separate district will be fulfilled in 2023. “I believe in work not words,” he added.
On the other hand, senior BJP leader and Bhubaneswar MP Aparajita Sarangi campaigned for party candidate Pradip Purohit in the constituency on Friday.
The BJD government, which is in power for more than 22 years yet to fulfil a basic demand of the people to declare Padampur as a separate district, Sarangi said during an election rally at Padampur.
Showing a written statement of revenue minister Pramila Mallick in the Odisha Assembly, the BJP leader said, “Mallick has said that there is no proposal before the government to declare Padampur as a district.”
Even after 22 years of rule of the BJD government and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, why is Odisha in the bottom five states in poverty? she asked.
“How many days we will keep this Chief Minister, who is appearing in video conferencing. We need a Chief Minister who should visit the villages, meet the people and address their grievances,” she said.
Sarangi requested the people to vote for Purohit, who can meet them at any point of time. The BJD candidate is a married woman and belongs to her in-law family, not Padampur, she added.
The Padampur by-poll will be held on December 5 and the result will be announced on December 8.