BJP makes veiled attack on Naveen aide Pandian with focus on ‘Odia asmita’ | India News

BHUBANESWAR: BJP and BJD‘s swift transition from would-be allies to poll rivals manifested itself in a tug-of-war over “Odia asmita (pride)” on Utkal Divas, with both parties projecting themselves as the sole custodian of Odisha’s culture, history and aspirations.
BJP’s focus on Odia identity is seen as a veiled attack on CM Naveen Patnaik‘s aide VK Pandian, whose roots are in Tamil Nadu.
The saffron party on Monday likened the BJD govt to “Kalapahad”, the Muslim general infamous for attacking the Jagannath temple in Puri in the 16th century. In a series of posts on its social media platforms, BJP’s Odisha unit accused BJD of betraying Odia pride.
BJP’s campaign strategy was evident immediately after its state president Manmohan Samal announced that the party would go it alone in Odisha. Pandian, an IAS officer who quit the bureaucracy to join BJD last year, became the target of the party’s social media meme fest focused on his allegedly frequent helicopter rides.
BJP also questioned “unnecessary security cover” for Pandian, citing information acquired through RTI and alleging that all of this was “at the expense of the Odia people’s hard-earned money”.
BJD’s take on “Odia asmita” came across in a message from CM Naveen, who said “self-respect” was the essence of the state’s quest for development.
“Odisha continues to inscribe its proud history, flourishing with the commitment of every Odia. Aligned with the era of transformation, our collective pledge is to propel Odisha towards development. As we commemorate Odisha Divas, let us unite to bolster Odia pride and stride towards a prosperous Odisha,” Naveen wrote.
Union minister and BJP’s Sambalpur LS candidate Dharmendra Pradhan said time was ripe for a change in Odisha.
The state unit of BJP highlighted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “efforts to increase the prestige and recognition of Odisha in the world by promoting Odia culture globally”.

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