Launching a sharp attack on CM Naveen Patnaik, Union Petroleum Ministers Dharmendra Pradhan said he failed to understand some of the announcements made recently and was not sure whether the CM himself understands the full implications as he only reads out scripts prepared by officers.

Pradhan was responding to questions on the rejection of Ayushman Bharat scheme by the Odisha government and the CM’s recent enhancement of health assurance for women from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 7 lakh.

The BJD has demanded an apology from me for having supported Ayushman Bharat and has referred to objections raised by the IMA, does the BJD want fees of doctors to increase, does it want to deprive the poor of Odisha the benefits of the scheme, countered Pradhan.

Pradhan pointed out that Odia worker going outside the state would have benefitted under the central health scheme. He will not get the same benefit in the scheme announced by the state government. On CM’s support to simultaneous polls, Pradhan said it was on former PM Atal Behari Vajpayee’s advise that the Odisha CM had opted for simultaneous polls in 2004 and since then it is continuing in Odisha.

Pradhan also criticized the state minister for stooping low in suggesting that the word Utkal be replaced with Odisha in the revered song Bande Utkal Janani which is being considered as a ‘state song’. The Union Minister said a two-day conference is being held here from on Friday to work out a roadmap for the agriculture, agri-business and marketing sector.