BHUBANESWAR: The war of words between the BJD and BJP over performance of the state government vis-a-vis the Centre intensified on Saturday with the regional outfit today announcing that it is ready for an open debate about the achievements of the two governments.
However, responding to BJP’s stand that chief minister Naveen Patnaik should represent BJD in the debate, party spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP Pratap Deb said if the chief minister will be present, then the BJP should be represented by the Prime Minister. “Why is BJP, which has set target to win 120 assembly seats in the next election, afraid,” Deb asked.
Deb said there should also be a comparative assessment of election manifestoes of two political parties and the steps taken to fulfil the promises. “The election manifestoes released by BJD and BJP in 2014 election and steps taken by the state government and the Centre to fulfil the promises should be compared and this should also be a part of the open debate,” he said.
The BJD leader said the BJP should also give details about the resources generated from the state by the Centre and the financial assistance provided to Odisha. The venue of the debate should be in the capital city Bhubaneswar, he said and added that the date and time would be subsequently if the BJP agreed on the participation of the Prime Minister in it, he said.
Countering the claims of BJD leaders on the performance of the state government and the Centre, Pradhan had said on Wednesday that he is ready for an open debate with the chief minister on all issues. “I am ready for an open debate with Chief Minister on all issues raised by BJD leaders,” he said.
Meanwhile, general secretary of the state BJP Prithviraj Harichandan said the debate should be in Odia. The debate should be between the chief minister and union minister Pradhan, he said and added that it should mainly have two points, why there has been no development in Odisha and the growing corruption at all levels of the government.
“The BJP leaves it for the BJD to decide on the place, date and time of the debate,” he said.