BJP president Amit Shah on Monday slammed the BJD government in Odisha for rejecting the Centre's newly launched flagship Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme, saying Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik did so fear defeat in the 2019 polls.
The BJD, however, rejected Shah's remark and said the state government's health assurance scheme, Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana, was "much better" than Ayushman Bharat.
"No one can stop the people of Odisha in availing the benefits of Ayushman Bharat. You cannot stop the BJP from helping the poor. We will implement the Ayushman Bharat programme on the first day if the BJP forms a government in the state in the 2019 elections," he said.
Hitting out at Patnaik for rejecting the health insurance scheme, which was launched on Sunday, Shah said, "Naveen Babu is afraid that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's popularity will grow further if the scheme is launched in the state. The chief minister is worried about his 'kursi' (chair) and not for the poor people of Odisha."
Alleging that Odisha is being governed by officers and not by the people's representatives, Shah said IAS and IPS officers cannot rule the state.
"Odisha is not being governed through democracy, but by the bureaucracy," he said.
"I want to tell the officers to stop indulging in sycophancy. This government will not last forever. This government will change very soon and the BJP will form a government in Odisha. All corrupt people will have to pay the price for their activities," said Shah, who inaugurated the national executive meeting of BJP Mahila Morcha here.
"Naveen Babu, do not try to terrorize the BJP by killing our workers. Our history says that BJP gets stronger when it is attacked," he said while claiming that his party is gaining ground in the state with each passing day.
Claiming that farmers in Odisha do not get adequate MSP on paddy through the Centre has raised it by Rs 200 per quintal, Shah said, "There is an unholy nexus between the mill owners and the government for which the farmers suffer."
He alleged that there has been 39 percent rise in atrocities against women and girls in the state.
Highlighting the Modi government's policies for women, he said it had recently raised the remuneration of ASHA and Anganwadi workers, provided free 5.5 crore cooking gas connections, opened 16 crore Jandhan accounts, gave a loan to 13 crore women under the Mudra scheme and constructed 7.5 crore toilets.
Shah called upon the BJP women office-bearers to take the message of the prime minister to every household in the state to ensure that the party forms the government in Odisha as well as in the Centre in 2019.
The BJP chief also slammed opposition parties, including Congress, saying they suffered from "Modi phobia" and lacked any agenda for the country's development.
"I want to tell the people that the Congress and opposition parties are working together for breaking India while Modiji is busy in making India," he said.
The prime minister is seeking to eradicate poverty, eliminate unemployment and insecurity among people, but the opposition wants his removal as they have no specific agenda, leader or policies, the BJP chief said.
Shah also said that BJP would observe the birth centenary of Vijaya Raje Scindia year-long from October 12 as a tribute to the leader who made a significant contribution to uplift women and for the growth of the BJP.
Meanwhile, the BJD rejected the charges leveled by Shah as "baseless, false and misleading".
BJD general secretary Arun Sahu said the state's 'Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana' provides Rs 7 lakh as against Rs 5 lakh by the Centre.
Another BJD general secretary, Sanjay Dasburma, ridiculed Shah's plea to give one term to BJP in the state, saying that ahead of 2014 elections, the saffron party had promised "achhe din" and contain inflation, but the people have been hit hard by sky-rocketing prices of all commodities.