Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is a ‘Maunibaba’, who does not speak.

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is a ‘Maunibaba’, who does not speak.
| Photo Credit: Biswaranjan Rout

Setting the tone for two public meetings to be addressed by senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, and party president Mallikarjun Kharge, Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh said the ruling Biju Janata Dal and Bharatiya Janata Party were shadow boxing in Odisha.

Addressing a press conference in Bhubaneswar on Tuesday, Mr. Ramesh said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is a ‘Maunibaba’, who does not speak.

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“Odisha CM is a Mauni Baba and he does not speak. I frankly do not know how Government of Odisha manages its affairs. The BJP and BJD are allies and two side of same coin. Why has there been no investigation into the chit fund and mining scam? Who is protecting whom?” he asked.

Unspoken alliance

He said the BJP is senior partner in Delhi while it is junior partner in Odisha. “In all the important bills, BJD was the first party who came out in support of the BJP. It is extraordinary that a BJP candidate was elected by the BJD to Upper House of Parliament.”

“Both the Odisha CM and Prime Minister are shadow boxing. Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticises Mr. Patnaik. To counter him, Mr. Patnaik issues a video message. These are all publicity stunts. There is one choice before the people of Odisha. On one hand, there is the Congress and on the other, there is an alliance between the BJP and BJD,” said Mr. Ramesh.

Congress MP Mr. Gandhi and party president Mr. Kharge will address two meetings in Balangir and Kandhamal on May 15 and May 16 respectively.

Congress leaders, however, have doubts about the selection of venues for their public meetings. “Congress should have taken a realistic approach and leveraged its strengths. The party has very good chances of securing victories in the Koraput, Balasore, and Bhadrak Lok Sabha seats. Since voting in Koraput has already concluded, the party should now concentrate its efforts in Balasore and Bhadrak,” senior Congress leaders said.

They said, “Balangir and Kandhamal are strongholds of the BJP and BJD respectively. In both the constituencies, the Congress has fielded two newcomers who have little resonance on the ground. The presence of senior leaders could have been better leveraged.”

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