Dharmendra Pradhan Denies Rahul Gandhi's Allegations: Asserts Congress in Odisha is Influenced by CM Naveen Patnaik

Rahul Gandhi had previously accused Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik of partnering with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with the aim to exploit the state’s resources.

Rahul Gandhi had previously accused Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik of partnering with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with the aim to exploit the state’s resources. He claiming that the BJD (Biju Janata Dal) and BJP were working in cohorts for  their mutual benefit. He had also questioned the lack of legal action against Patnaik if he were truly opposed to the BJP, contrasting it with his own legal challenges, including defamation cases and the loss of his Lok Sabha membership. Gandhi’s argument rested on the notion that the lack of action against Patnaik suggested a tacit understanding between the BJD and BJP.

This allegation by the Congress leader was swiftly refuted by the Union Minister, Dharmendra Pradhan. He denied Gandhi’s claims and alleged that it was actually the Congress that was influenced by Patnaik. Pradhan asserted that Patnaik had a significant role in deciding Congress candidates for elections. He hinted that Patnaik had deeper level of control over the Congress in Odisha. He also suggested that Congress leaders in Odisha were solely contesting elections for the benefit of the BJD in a few seats, thereby downplaying their impact on the state’s political landscape.

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Pradhan also addressed Rahul Gandhi’s accusations of BJP and BJD looting Odisha’s wealth, countering that Congress leaders in the state are involved in the mining mafia, thus shifting the focus back on the Congress. He accused Gandhi of suffering from “Modi-phobia,” using it to explain Gandhi’s frequent blaming of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his legal troubles, including cases that predate Modi’s tenure.

Patnaik, who has been in power since 2000, is a significant player, and his party’s past electoral successes indicate a strong foothold in the state. The upcoming elections will test whether his influence continues or if the dynamics will shift in favor of either the BJP or the Congress.