Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has embarked on a 50-km roadshow from Bhubaneswar to Cuttack on the first day of his visit to Odisha as part of elections campaign leading upto the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
As soon as the Nehru-Gandhi scion arrived at the Biju Patnaik International Airport, he was received by State Congress leaders including OPCC President Jaydev Jena and AICC General Secretary B K Hariprasad. "Rahulji wants to interact with women, students as well as people belonging from minority community through road shows for one-to-one interaction," said Nabarangpur MP Pradip Majhi.
Rahul's roadshow preceded BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's, two days from now. However, state BJP spokesman Suren Pujari claimed that Rahul's visit would have no impact on the people of Odisha. "Rahul's visit will have no influence on our people as they have suffered badly during the UPI-I and II. Congress supporters might be elated to see Rahul Gandhji, but the people of the state are upset with the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre," said senior BJD leader and government Chief Whip Pravat Tripathy
Speaking to the crowd in Salepur in Cuttack, he questioned why the state was faced with so many economic issues. "Why does the money from natural resources not reach the common people of Odisha?" he asked.
"Your money is not reaching you. It's getting lost in between," he said. "People in Odhisha want to work but the state government does not provide them employment. The same is true for the food scheme; money alloted to feed the people is not reaching them," Gandhi added.
"10 lakh people are unemployed here, but government is doing nothing about it. Twenty-two out of 30 districts are Naxal districts," he pointed out.
Blaming the state government, he saids, "State says that Centre doesn't send money for the state. But no government has allotted as much money as we did to Odisha in five years. We started mid-day meal for the kids, we allotted so much money to the state, but BJD guzzled it."
He urged the people to join the fight to bring the money back to the state for their own development. "In my opinion Odisha is the richest state in India. But its govt is looting the people, so fight to throw them out of power."