BJP responds to Naveen’s question on next Odisha CM

Bhubaneswar: To Odisha Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) President Naveen Patnaik’s query as who was the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) chief ministerial candidate, the BJP leaders said a Odia-speaking person would be the next Odisha chief minister.

Patnaik also asked the BJP to declare from which constituency the chief ministerial candidate was contesting. “The people of Odisha want to know who is BJP’s CM candidate and from which constituency he/she is contesting? Is the BJP afraid to announce its CM candidate?” said Patnaik addressing a rally at Daspalla of the Nayagarh district.

“People want to know who is the second engine of the BJP’s double-engine?” he said.

The Daspalla Assembly seat is part of the Kandhamal Lok Sabha constituency, which will go to the polls in the second phase on April 18.

Taking a dig at the BJP’s double-engine formula, the BJD President said, “when elections approach, the Delhi engine appears in Odisha and disappears soon after.”

“Where were they during natural disasters, like cyclonic storm Phailin, Hudhud, Titli, drought and floods?” he remarked.

Responding to his question, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said: “4.5 crore Odias are our chief ministerial candidates and the BJP’s government in Odisha will be our second engine.”

BJP’s Odisha in-charge Arun Singh said the party’s parliamentary board would decide on chief ministerial candidate. Taking a potshot at Naveen’s poor understanding of Odia language, Singh said the BJP chief had already stated an Odia-speaking person would be the Chief Minister of Odisha after the elections.

The Lok Sabha and Assembly polls are being held simultaneously in four phases in Odisha.