BJP president Amit Shah played the regional disparity card in Odisha alleging that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik displayed a step-motherly attitude towards western parts of the state such as the KBK region (erstwhile undivided Koraput, Bolangir, Kalahandi districts). He had lunch at the house of a Dalit family in a village.

Significantly, the BJP had made elaborate arrangement for Shah’s lunch at the Dalit daily wager’s house in Deogaon village. A spread of more than a dozen dishes was made and served by Maheswar Suna’s family.

Shah, Union ministers Juel Oram, Dharmendra Pradhan, Leader of BJPLP K V Singh Deo, his wife and former MP Sangeeta Singh Deo, state BJP president Basanta Panda all had lunch at Suna’s house.

Addressing a youth convention of the BJP here, Shah accused the ruling BJD of unleashing violence and targeting BJP workers. He said 14 BJP workers had been murdered and the culprits were allowed to roam freely.

He exhorted the youth to uproot the BJD and elect a BJP government in the state.

Earlier, on the way from Kalahandi district, Shah interacted with villagers who complained of high fluoride content in water. The BJP president assured the villagers that if Naveen Patnaik had failed to provide them with safe drinking water, Prime Minister Narendra Modi would do it. Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who was with Shah, said he would provide funds for a check dam in the area.

“The youth of the area is ageing prematurely, stunting due to fluoride water and Naveen Patnaik is in deep slumber. The others are migrating in search of work,” he charged.