BJP leader attacks Odisha govt at Vajpayee tribute, draws flak

Bhubaneswar: BJP Legislature Party leader K V Singhdeo courted a controversy Tuesday when he criticised the Naveen Patnaik-led state government while making obituary references in the Assembly.

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The BJP leader, during his address in the House, said former prime minister A B Vajpayee would have been unhappy had he been aware about the current state of affairs in Odisha.

“Vajpayee, who provided a launch pad for Odisha’s present chief minister (Naveen Patnaik), may have regretted if he found out about the way the state is being governed today,” the BJP Legislature Party leader said.

Protesting against Singhdeo’s statement, BJD MLA Debasis Samantray said it was unfair to deliver a political speech while paying tribute to the departed leader.

Talking to media after the Assembly session, Samantray said, “He (Singhdeo) did not say a word on M Karunanidhi or Somnath Chaterjee. This is not the tradition of Assembly. A member should pay respect to all departed leaders.”

Singhdeo, on his part, justified his statement.

“When Patnaik took over as the chief minister, the state’s financial condition was very bad. The government was not in a position to pay salary to its employees. Then Vajpayee, as the prime minister, helped and guided Patnaik,” the BJP leader told reporters outside Assembly.

In 1999, when Odisha was devastated by a super cyclone, the Vajpayee-led central government supported the state with Rs 900 crore, he maintained.

“What I had said was my personal feeling. I don’t expect him (Samantray) to agree with my speech. Had the former prime minister been alive, he would have regretted the mode of administration of the chief minister,” Singhdeo iterated.

Expressing his displeasure over the incident, Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra said it was best not to engage in a controversy when the leader of the House moves a condolence motion.

“The incident which took place in the House Tuesday was unacceptable. Let us not engage into controversy anymore, it will be disrespectful to him (Vajpayee),” the senior Congress leader added.

The first day of the monsoon session of the House was adjourned Tuesday by Speaker P K Amat following the obituary references to the departed leaders, including former Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee and DMK patriarch Karunanidhi.



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