BHUBANESWAR, DEC 17
Even as the Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today visited Gujarat to attend Odisha festival in Surat and see Odia patients in Ahmadabad, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani saw a political motive in it.
Patnaik today visited Sri Satyasai Heart Hospital at Ahmadabad and met Odia children undergoing treatment there. Around 150 Odia children are getting treatment for heart ailment there free of cost. Patnaik also gave away discharge certificates to 36 Odia children.
It may be recalled that the Odisha Government had inked an MoU with this institute for free treatment of Odia children suffering from cardiac problem which needs surgical intervention.
Meanwhile, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani today suspected political motive behind Patnaik’s maiden visit to Surat ahead of the 2019 general elections.
When Rupani came down to the capital city of Odisha to address a press conference on Rafale deal in the aftermath of the Supreme Court judgment, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on the day flew to Gujarat for attending a festival of Odia migrant labourers at Surat.
Calling his visit coinciding with Patnaik’s tour to Gujarat on the day as a “coincidence”, Rupani said: “Odisha Chief Minister could remember about the people of Odisha staying in Gujarat 19 years after being in power.”
Clarifying that his visit to Odisha had nothing to do with politics, Rupani said, “Gujarat is not going to polls, but Assembly elections in Odisha is round the corner. But, I welcome him on his maiden visit.”
Patnaik’s visit to Surat is considered as political because the textile city Surat in Gujarat, houses about 10 lakh Odias including seven lakh alone from Ganjam, the home district of the chief minister. These migrant labourers used to come down to Odisha to participate in the elections.
Earlier, BJP leader and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and senior Congress leader Narasingha Mishra on Sunday have described Patnaik’s visit to Gujarat as a political gimmick.
Rupani also claimed that Gujarat government was equally concerned about the wellbeing of the Odia speaking people in Gujarat. He said the BJP government in Gujarat has provided them with good homes under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana and Mukhya Mantri Awaas Yojana.
Ruling BJD, appeared to have taken Rupani’s statement seriously. “Why is Gujarat Chief Minister here in Odisha when our CM is scheduled to visit Surat today? It seems BJP is terrified of CM Naveen’s visit,” said BJD spokesman PK Deb.
Rejecting Rupani’s statement that the Odias living in other states cannot avail the benefits of the Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana, Deb said, “The non-resident Odias are also entitled to get benefits from Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana wherever they are in the country.”