A day after Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik vacated the Bijepur Assembly seat and retained Hinjili, opposition BJP on June 3 accused him of having betrayed the people of the western region.
"By resigning from Bijepur Assembly constituency, Naveen Patnaik has simply betrayed the people of western Odisha," BJP national secretary and newly-elected Lok Sabha member from Bargarh, Suresh Pujari, said.
Coming down heavily on the BJD president for his move, Pujari said the people of entire western Odisha had high expectations when Patnaik chose to contest from Bijepur. "Now, the people of the region feel cheated," he said.
The BJD supremo had contested the recent assembly elections, held along with the Lok Sabha polls, from his home turf Hinjili in Ganjam district, as well as Bijepur in west Odisha, and emerged victorious from both the constituencies.
Patnaik on June 2 vacated the Bijepur assembly seat and retained Hinjli.
Senior BJP leader and former minister, Jayanarayan Mishra also lashed out at the chief minister for his decision.
"It is diffucult to understand why Naveen Patnaik chose to contest from Bijepur and decided to vacate the seat now," Mishra, an MLA from Sambalpur, said.
Accusing Patnaik of cheating the people of western Odisha for years, Mishra said the special package announced by the chief minister before his resignation from Bijepur seat was nothing but a trick to hoodwink the people of the region.
Patnaik had on May 30 announced a Rs 1,330-crore package, including plans to provide pucca houses to 34,000 households in the assembly constituency.
"The so-called package is the first move to betray the people of western Odisha and Bijepur in particular by the government in its fifth term," the BJP leader alleged. Despite the BJD's "sinister design", the BJP will put up a strong fight in the by-election in Bijepur, he said.
Dismissing the allegations, BJD leader and Health Minister Naba Kishore Das said the chief minister is not going to ignore the people of Bijepur, as he has already stated that development of the region is his responsibility.
Besides announcing the special package for the development of the area, Patnaik has promised that he will personally monitor implementation of the projects, Das said.