In an apparent dig at the opposition ahead of the 2024 assembly polls and general election, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday said his Biju Janata Dal has a single-point agenda of development of the state, which is “not in focus” of national parties. The BJD has no vested interests apart from the progress of Odisha, Patnaik asserted.
He was addressing a large gathering of party leaders and office-bearers at the silver jubilee of BJD’s foundation day at the Shree Jagannath ‘Dham’ here. The BJD was founded on December 26, 1997, and named after its legendary leader Biju Patnaik, the father of Naveen Patnaik.
“The interest of the state is the lone agenda of the BJD, while Odisha is not in the focus of national parties. They have national politics in their agenda. Only a regional party can develop the state,” he said, without naming any party. Noting that the BJD is not just a political party, but a social movement, Patnaik said it has earned the trust of 4.5 crore people of Odisha. “The BJD’s growth and acceptability among the people is not dependent on one or two persons, nor will it in future,” the CM said.
Patnaik said the party would continue to serve the people “for another 100 years” if it receives the blessings of women, whom he called upon to assume leadership roles.
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“Empowering women will strengthen family, state and the nation as a whole. Under BJD’s rule, all regions get equal priority, from Malkangiri to Mayurbhanj and from Bargarh to Puri. This removes the regional imbalance and ensures inclusive growth in the state,” he said. The BJD president also said his government has earned accolades from across the globe for its sound disaster management.
The regional party, which has been in power in Odisha since 2000, could not organise its foundation day function last year due to the Covid pandemic.
The BJD had first formed government in alliance with the BJP in the state.
Meanwhile, the students’ wing of the Odisha Congress staged a demonstration here, protesting Patnaik’s Puri visit. Some of the student activists were detained as a precautionary measure, police said.