Puri, Sept 24: BJP president Amit Shah on Monday slammed the BJD government in Odisha for rejecting the Centre's newly launched flagship Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme, saying Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik did so fearing defeat in the 2019 polls.
The BJD, however, rejected Shah's remark and said the state government's health insurance scheme, Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana, was much better than Ayushman Bharat. The Ayushman Bharat programme would be implemented in Odisha if the BJP is voted to power in the state, he said at a meeting of the party's women's wing here. "No one can stop the people of Odisha in availing the benefits of Ayushman Bharat. You cannot stop the BJP from helping the poor. We will implement the Ayushman Bharat programme on the first day if the BJP forms government in the state in the 2019 elections," he said.
Hitting out at Patnaik for rejecting the Ayushman Bharat programme, which was launched on Sunday, Shah said, "Naveen Babu is afraid that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's popularity will grow further if the scheme is launched in the state. The chief minister is worried about his 'kursi' (chair) and not for the poor people of Odisha." Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Odisha on Saturday, had slammed the state government for not joining the world's biggest health assurance scheme and said the state's own such scheme has limitations. Alleging that Odisha is being governed by officers and not by the people's representatives, Shah said IAS and IPS officers cannot rule the state.
"Odisha is not being governed through democracy, but by the bureaucracy." "I want to tell the officers to stop indulging in sycophancy. This government will not last forever. This government will change very soon and the BJP will form government in Odisha. All corrupt people will have to pay the price for their activities," Shah said. The BJP president also alleged that at least 14 party workers have been killed in the state in the last three years by "government-sponsored" goons. "Naveen Babu, do not try to terrorise the BJP by killing our workers. Our history says that BJP gets stronger when it is attacked," he said, while claiming that his party is gaining ground in the state each passing day. Asserting that the NDA government at the Centre has given Rs 4.45 lakh crore to Odisha, Shah sought to know how it was utilised.
"The funds meant for the poor people have been misappropriated by the officers and party leaders. Though the Centre has formulated 129 schemes, they did not reach the people in the villages," he alleged. Claiming that the farmers in the state do not get adequate MSP on paddy though the Centre has raised it by Rs 200 per quintal, Shah said, "There is an unholy nexus between the mill owners and the government for which the farmers suffer." He alleged that there have been 39 per cent rise in atrocities against women and girls in the state. "The state government is not concerned over it. Since the party named after Biju Patnaik has not been following the ideology of the legendary leader, it has no right to stay in power," Shah said. Highlighting Modi government's policies for women, he said it had recently raised the remuneration of ASHA and Anganwadi workers, provided free 5.5 crore cooking gas connections, opened 16 crore Jandhan accounts, gave loan to 13 crore women under the Mudra scheme and constructed 7.5 crore toilets.
Shah called upon the BJP women office-bearers to take message of the prime minister to every household in the state to ensure that the party forms government in Odisha as well as in the Centre in 2019. He appealed to the people of Odisha to give the party "only" five years to serve them and then "see the changes". "You have already given 18 years to Naveen (Patnaik). Give us only five years and see changes in the life of common people in the state," Shah said. The BJD rejected Shah remarks as "baseless, false and misleading".
Asserting that the Odisha government's 'Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yonana' is much better than the Ayushman Bharat scheme, BJD general secretary Arun Sahu said the state's scheme provides Rs 7 lakh for women as against Rs 5 lakh by Centre. Moreover, the centre's share in Ayushman Bharat is only 60 per cent while the state has to bear the rest 40 per cent, he said.
Sahu said the Centre should remember that it is not giving the full amount but trying to take full credit for it. The centre should also remember that health is a state subject and Odisha government has introduced its own scheme from its own funds for the benefit of the people, he said.
Another BJD general secretary, Sanjay Dasburma, ridiculed Shah's plea to give one term to BJP in the state, saying that ahead of 2014 elections, the saffron party had promised "achhe din" and contain inflation, but the people have been hit hard by sky-rocketing prices of all commodities. He also alleged that writers, intellectuals, journalists and social activists are being targeted by the BJP-led government and the situation in the country is worse than the emergency period.