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"Goal of BJP-BJD partnership is to steal wealth, mines, and properties of people in Odisha:" Rahul Gandhi

Balasore: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi claimed on Thursday that BJP-BJD are working as an alliance and alleged that the partnership is focused on looting the wealth, mines, and properties of Odisha.
Speaking at a public meeting in Balasore, Gandhi questioned the integrity of BJD leader and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, "why haven't cases been filed against the CM here, Naveen Babu, if he truly fights against the BJP? Why wasn't his home taken? Why wasn't his membership revoked? Why wasn't he interrogated?"
"All this hasn't happened because Naveen Patnaik from BJD works for the BJP, both are the same, their partnership is ongoing. And it's clear that the goal of this partnership is to steal the wealth, mines, and properties of the people of Odisha and to make billions," Gandhi added.
Drawing a contrast with his own experiences, Gandhi highlighted the numerous legal challenges he has faced due to his opposition to the BJP.
"I fight against the BJP and they have filed 24 cases against me that include defamation and criminal cases. They took away my Lok Sabha membership and sentenced me to a two-year jail term. The ED interrogated me for 50 hours. They took my home. When they took my home, I gave them the keys and said to them, 'I don't want this government house of yours," Gandhi said.
"I have millions of homes in my India. My home is in the hearts of the people of Odisha. The hearts of the people of other states are my home, I don't need your home, take it away," he added.
Gandhi emphasized the ideological battle between the BJP and the INDIA alliance, which he asserts is committed to protecting the Indian Constitution.
"This is the first election where one side wants to end the Constitution and the other side wants to save it. The INDIA alliance is saying that no matter what happens, we will protect the Constitution, we will not let Ambedkar's Constitution be revoked or destroyed. On the other hand, BJP people and RSS people say that if their government is formed, they will tear up Ambedkar's Constitution,'
"I want to tell Narendra Modi and the RSS people that you can think whatever you want, but there is no power in this world that can destroy India's Constitution,' he added.
On PM Modi's recent remark on Mahatma Gandhi, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi says, "Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela and all the children of India are inspired by Mahatma Gandhi. So, there is no need to comment anything on that. Perhaps, his entire worldview is based on 'Shakha's' (RSS) view."
Earlier on May 16, PM Modi said, "These (Congress) people climb the stairs of power taking the name of Mahatma Gandhi, but they don't remember the words of Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi had himself ensured these people (minorities living in neighbouring countries) that they can come to India whenever they want. In the last 70 years, thousands of families have taken asylum in India to safeguard their culture and religion. However, Congress never bothered to think about them because they were not Congress' vote bank. SP, Congress and INDIA bloc are spreading lies about CAA and tried to push the country towards riots."
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday berated the Opposition for allegedly trying to push the country towards riots by spreading lies about the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
The assembly and Lok Sabha elections in Odisha are taking place simultaneously, in four phases, from May 13 to June 1. The counting of votes will be held on June 4.
Forty-two assembly constituencies in Odisha went to the polls on May 25.
Naveen Patnaik (77) has been serving as the Chief Minister of Odisha since 2000 and is the second-longest serving CM of any Indian state. He is seeking a record sixth term in power in the state.
The 2024 Indian general election in Odisha is being held in four phases to elect 21 members of the 18th Lok Sabha.
In the last assembly elections in 2019, the BJD won 112 out of 146 seats. BJP won 23 seats, and Congress got nine seats.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJD mopped up the lion's share of the electoral spoils, with the BJP and the Congress following behind. The BJD won 12 seats, the BJP finished a close second at 8, and the Congress bagged just a lone seat.

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