Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has support of farmers: BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra
BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra on Thursday said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had the support of farmers of Odisha as seen by the large turnout at the launch of the second phase of the state's flagship programme KALIA.
This he said was in contrast to the call for a farmers' bandh in the state on Thursday, which received almost negligible support.
"The manner in which this BJP inspired and sponsored bandh was organised, not even 400 people were seen protesting on the streets in the whole state. But on the other side, the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik led 'Kalia Yojana' event witnessed the presence of lakhs of farmers" Patra said.
The BJD leader further said, "It is clear that this conspiracy by BJP on the farmers issue has failed," adding that the call for the bandh during a time when the students in the state were beginning to give their matriculation exams projected a bad example.
"BJP will feel the impact of this in the coming elections," Patra said.
Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik launched the Phase 2 of 'Kalia' scheme from Sohela block of Bargarh District.
Meanwhile, leading farmers' body, the Naba Nirman Krushak Sangathan (NNKS), which called for a nationwide strike on Thursday demanding price, pension and prestige for farmers, hit out against Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik accusing his government of being anti-farmer.
NNKS chief Akshay Kumar alleged that the government of Odisha and the police had arrested thousands of farmers on Wednesday night ahead of the bandh.
Kumar told media persons, "Around five thousand farmers have been arrested for demanding their basic rights. Naveen has to face the elections in 2019. In Indian democracy, farmers decide their government at the Centre or state."
Kumar also said the bandh will not affect the matriculation exam to be held on Friday. "We have not created an obstacle for students who will appear in matriculation exam on February 22. Sons of farmers also have to appear in the exam."
He also asserted that the fight will not stop till the time the demands of farmers are not met. He said, "This anti-farmer government needs to reply to our demands. The farmers' fight will not stop until they get price, prestige and pension.