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‘Odias are being exploited in Odisha’, says Congress leader Patnaik

Bhubaneswar, Feb 13 (IANS) Days after joining the Congress, bureaucrat-turned-politician Bijay Kumar Patnaik on Monday alleged that Odias are being exploited in their own state.

After joining the Congress in Delhi, Patnaik returned to Odisha on Monday where he was given a rousing welcome by the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) at the Congress Bhawan here.

Speaking to mediapersons, Patnaik said, “Odia people are being exploited in their own state. Perhaps Odisha is the only state where a conspiracy is being hatched to exploit its own people.”

“Odia contractors are not getting work here. Even tenders for small works are also made in such a way that Odia contractors are not able to qualify for them,” he said.

If small and C class contractors from other states get all the works here, where will the Odia contractors go, the Congress leader asked.

Stating that unemployment is a big problem in Odisha, he claimed that graduates are moving to other states to get job while labourers are also migrating to other states in search of livelihood.

Refraining from making any direct attack on Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, he said, “He was my boss. So, I don’t want to criticise him. However, I can say, this Naveen Patnaik is not the same under whom I was serving.”

The former Chief Secretary said that he joined politics because he was unable to see the style of functioning of the present government in the state.

“The common people in the state do not know whom to approach to get their grievances redressed. Be it an MLA or a minister, all claim that they do not have powers and everything is being controlled by the ‘third floor’ (chief minister’s office),” he alleged.

“Neither common man nor journalists have any access to the ‘third floor’. Forget about the third floor, the journalists are restricted from entering the state secretariat,” Patnaik claimed.

Reacting to the allegations levelled by him, BJD spokesperson Lenin Mohanty said Patnaik wanted to go to Rajya Sabha after joining the BJD.

As this could not happen, he joined the Congress now, but he is making statements like a BJP spokesperson, Mohanty said.