Odisha BJP targets BJD over film actors’ visit to Naveen Niwas ahead of polls

Bhubaneswar: The state unit of BJP today targeted the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) over film stars’ rush to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s residence ahead of the ensuing twin polls in Odisha.

A large number of Ollywood actors visited Naveen Niwas yesterday on the invitation of the BJD Supremo.

The BJP expressed its surprise over such a move by the BJD terming it as ‘tactics to use stars’ for poll campaign.

“We heard that the BJD had invited the actors to showcase the achievements of government led by CM Naveen Patnaik in Ollywood in past years,” said Ollywood actor-turned-politician and Odisha BJP’s Cultural Cell Convenor Pinky Pradhan.

“But we had never seen CM Naveen so much concerned about Odia cinema and its artists during his 24 years of rule in Odisha. The party that never considers actors’ potentials and claims that Naveen Patnaik is the only star campaigner to win the polls is now looking for star campaigners today. This shows the party’s fear for defeat in the forthcoming polls,” she said.

“The BJD was said to have discussed with the stars on the core issues in the entertainment sector. That sounds strange!” she mocked.

“We are aware of the fact under which circumstances the Ollywood and actors are going through at present time. We know the real scenario. The first Odia film ‘Sita Bibaha’ was released in 1936 at Laxmi talkies in Puri. Since then, not a single cinema theatre came up in Puri. If the BJD is so much concerned about the cinema and cine artists, why the party excluded the stars associated with the BJP at Naveen Niwas? Why don’t you discuss the issue on an open forum? Why it was a closed-door discussion? “Don’t practice ‘Kahin Pe Nigahen Kahin Pe Nishana’, secretly for your political purpose,” she suggested.

Launching a scathing attack on the ruling BJD over actors’ visit to Naveen Niwas, she said, “All the Ollywood stars were suddenly asked to meet the BJD chief yesterday ahead of the polls. Why the party needed them all of sudden? This is BJD’s use and throw policy. Be it film stars or political leaders including Bhupinder Singh and Chandrasekhar Sahu, all met the same fate after being used by the party.

“For instance, actor Sindhant Mohapatra, former two two-time MP, left the BJD after the party sidelined him. He joined the BJP recently that offered him an assembly ticket for the upcoming election. Like him, many stars joined the BJP after deserting the BJD as they realised that the party had only used them and later dumped them.

She claimed that the BJD was losing its popularity among mass.

“The survey report suggests that Naveen Patnaik’s popularity has declined. This is the reason the film stars are being approached whom the party had considered nothing,” Pradhan said.

She said that the artistes of Odia film industry are the most neglected people in BJD Government’s 24 years of rule.

“No development was seen in Ollywood during Naveen’s regime. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Rs 4500 for folk artists, Naveen Babu is providing only Rs 2000. Even the state government did not stand by the artistes during the period of Covid pandemic. It was Modi, who extended all sorts of assistance to them,” Pradhan said.

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