Naveen Patnaik to BJP, Congress national leaders: Where were you during natural calamities?

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Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik

Questioning national leaders of the BJP and Congress whether they visited the state during natural calamities over the last five years, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik kick started his state-wide election tour from Ganjam on Wednesday.

The CM also held a 60-km roadshow in Ganjam, starting from Gopalpur and ending in Rambha. He is expected to cover Assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies that will go to polls in the first phase of elections on April 11.

At Gopalpur, he said, "Phailin happened, Hudhud happened, Titli happened, they did not come. They did not come during droughts. Now that there is an election, they have reached here for your votes. The BJP's big leaders are now shedding crocodile tears."

Phailin, Hudhud and Titli cyclones ravaged Odisha, especially the southern districts of Ganjam and Gajapati, in the last five years.

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The CM's speech appeared to be directed at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah and other national leaders.

Taking a jibe at Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, Patnaik questioned, "Why is the farmer harassed for insurance, while the insurance companies are profiting?" He also asked the crowd to question the BJP about special category status for Odisha, implementation of women's reservation and promise of two crore jobs per year.

"Our schemes cover everyone from birth to death. KALIA Yojana benefited 40 lakh farmers. It is said that some people are opposing farmers' benefits, but they will get an answer in the election," Patnaik said. "Not even one farmer will be left out of KALIA benefits."

Congress president Rahul Gandhi also recently increased his visits to the state ahead of the polls. Patnaik has served for four terms and nearly two decades as Chief Minister. His BJD is locked in a triangular contest with the BJP and Congress this time.