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BJD's Pandian challenges BJP to declare CM candidate for Odisha

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Odisha 5T Chairman and BJD leader V Karthikeyan Pandian speaks during an interview Bhubaneshwar, Thursday, May 2, 2024

V K Pandian (File photo)

Bhubaneswar: Senior BJD leader VK Pandian on Saturday challenged the BJP to declare its CM candidate for Odisha and claimed that the party would get less than 10 per cent votes if it names any of its current state leaders.

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Campaigning in the Sundergarh Lok Sabha seat, Pandian said BJP has been "day-dreaming" about forming government in Odisha since 2014.

"When elections come many leaders come as election tourists, and then they are not seen for five years," he said.

"It's a very old habit of BJP leaders of Odisha to daydream about forming government as Naveen Patnaik has said. They have been daydreaming since 2014," he added.

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Pandian claimed the BJP was unable to declare its CM candidate because it knows the day it will announce, its vote share will go below 10 per cent.

"PM Modi is claiming that the BJP chief minister will take oath on June 10. The people of Odisha have the right to know who is the BJP's CM candidate. Let the people decide between Naveen Patnaik and the BJP candidate. The BJP is afraid to declare its CM candidate because they know that if they choose any one of the current leaders, they will get less than 10 per cent votes," he said.

"I challenge the BJP to declare its CM candidate," he added.

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In an indirect reference to Pandian's earlier assertion that he is the natural successor to all great values of CM Patnaik, Modi told an election rally, "I am here to invite you to the swearing-in ceremony of the BJP chief minister in Bhubaneswar on June 10. A son or daughter of the soil who understands the state's culture, language and tradition will be made the CM."

Pandian said the BJP is claiming that it will make Odisha the top state in the country, "but is Gujarat the number one state?" "Malnutrition among children in Gujarat is 40 per cent. Anaemia among children in Gujarat is 79 per cent. Per capita debt burden of Gujarat is close to Rs 60,000," he claimed.

Claiming that CM Patnaik never forgets his promises, Pandian said that the BJD manifesto will be converted into a policy document after the elections.

Odisha will vote for its 21 Lok Sabha seats and the 147-member assembly, simultaneously, in four phases, starting on May 13.

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