Claiming that the Odisha is run by a "half-engine government", Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan alleged that the state suffers from "governance deficit" which has "led to massive malnutrition" among tribals. His comment on Tuesday came three days after BJD president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, in a veiled attack on the BJP, said it was good governance and not a "double engine" government that could help a party win an election.
Notably, the BJP used its oft-repeated slogan of "double engine" government (BJP government at the state and the Centre) in Karnataka where the party suffered a defeat at the hands of the Congress last week. In a scathing attack on the chief minister, Pradhan said, "Odisha suffers from governance deficit and only 'half engine' exists in the state. Therefore, Odisha is hit by misrule and bad governance. The state's health survey report speaks volumes." The Union education minister, however, did not name the BJD supremo.
He expressed concern over the "rising" malnutrition cases in the state. "The situation in tribal areas of the state is acute and it is reflected in a health survey," Pradhan said, adding that "governance deficit is the main cause" behind such a situation. He asked the state government to work on a priority basis and resolve the "alarming malnutrition" at the earliest.
He claimed that many pregnant women, lactating mothers and children under the age of five are "suffering from malnutrition". Pradhan was present at a 'Rozgar Mela' here and distributed appointment letters to 473 people selected in several central government services.
Following the BJP's defeat in Karnataka assembly elections and also the BJD's victory in Jharsuguda bypoll in Odisha, Patnaik had said, "Single engine or double engine does not matter. From people's point of view, governance is important. Good governance and pro-people governance always win." Patnaik's criticism of the "double engine" government is considered politically important as the opposition BJP has for long tried to lure the people of Odisha with accelerated development if they voted the party to power in the state.
Reacting to Pradhan's allegations, BJD spokesperson Lenin Mohanty said, "He has been speaking against the state government even after BJP leaders were seen insulting women of Odisha, particularly two daughters of the state who contested Padampur and Jharsuguda by-polls. The BJP has also insulted the member of Mission Shakti."
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