Bhubaneswar: The BJD on Wednesday ridiculed Narendra Modi for speaking highly of Biju Patnaik and claimed Jawaharlal Nehru had chosen the legendary Odisha leader to be the defence minister but could not as leaders from Gujarat and Maharashtra opposed the move.
"The Gujarat Chief Minister`s words about Biju Patnaik are meaningless. Nehru wanted to make Biju`babu the defence minister in 1962. But the move was stalled by leaders from Gujarat and Maharashtra," Odisha health minister Damodar Rout, who also happens to be BJD`s vice-president, said.
"What was Modi doing then?" Rout asked adding that the BJP`s prime ministerial candidate was probably busy with RSS activities somewhere in Gujarat.
Rout was speaking in the Assembly about Modi`s address at a BJP rally here yesterday in which the Gujarat Chief Minister had stated that Biju Patnaik must be pained to see the present situation in Odisha.
"The most appropriate tribute to Biju`babu would be to make Odisha a developed state," the BJP leader had said.
Rout also hit out at Modi`s remarks about people from Odisha working in Gujarat to earn their livelihood and said many Gujaratis also move out and eke out their living in Dubai and different countries.
Expressing concern over poverty and backwardness of Odisha, Modi in his speech had drawn a parallel between him and Naveen Patnaik.
"I have also completed 14 years as the Chief Minister of Gujarat like your CM in Odisha. In these 14 years, we made Gujarat so strong that people from all over the country, including every district in your state, go there in search of jobs," Modi had said while hitting out at Patnaik.