The war of words between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Odisha chief minister and Biju Janata Dal supremo Naveen Patnaik has attained new heights, with either side asserting victory in an election that has yet to conclude. The latest swipe, if you will, comes from Patnaik, who has invited Modi to attend his swearing-in ceremony when a new BJD government is installed in the state after the polls.
Exuding confidence of win even much before the whole election process is over, Patnaik said, “BJD has already secured the majority in the assembly by the end of the third phase polling”. The simultaneous assembly and parliamentary elections in Odisha are being held in four phases with the last phase polls slated on April 29.
“I humbly invite him (Modi) to attend the oath taking ceremony of the new BJD government,” Patnaik said at an election rally at Basta under Balasore Lok Sabha constituency.
He was responding to Modi's jibe at him. Addressing a rally at Kendrapara yesterday on the last leg of campaigning in Odisha, Modi had said he would visit the state next after the BJD government there is dislodged in the polls.
Launching a scathing personal attack on Patnaik for the first time during his extensive tours to the state over last five months, Modi said, he had refrained from taking Patnaik's name in his earlier rallies as he wanted the Odisha CM, who had served the state for long 19 years, to bow out with dignity.
Then referring to a spate of poll-related violence in the state, Modi said, BJD’s act of desperation in the last two weeks, unleashing violence against BJP workers like Bengal compelled him to speak out.
“Naveen Babu aap ka jana taya hai (Naveen Babu your days are numbered)," Modi said at the rally and went on to add, “People will kick you out and your officers will not be able to save you”.
Alluding to the allegations that Patnaik was dependent on a handful of officials to run his administration as well as the party affairs, Modi charged these officials of conniving with the ruling party to unleash violence against the BJP cadres and also arresting development of the state.
By far, this was the most vitriolic attack by Modi against Patnaik in last five years though BJP president Amit Shah, during many of his rallies in the state earlier, had compared the Patnaik government with a burnt transformer calling upon people to throw it out.
Similarly, Patnaik, who always presents a suave demeanour by refraining from personal attacks against his political rivals, was unusually aggressive this time when he showed his disdain for Modi during an interview with a TV channel saying he does not want him (Modi) as prime minister for the second time.