BJP leader and Union minister Prakash Javadekar today said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was no longer popular in Odisha and claimed the state government had failed on all fronts.
The BJP, on the other hand, was becoming more and more popular in the state, he said, sounding upbeat about forming the next government in Odisha, where assembly elections are due in 2019.
"It is a fact that Naveen Patnaik was popular in the state but not today," Javadekar told reporters here.
The BJP's growing popularity was evident in the last Zilla Parishad elections in the state, he said.
The party won 297 seats out of 853 in 2017, registering almost a five-fold rise from its previous show in 2012.
The human resource development minister said the ruling BJD was trying to promote Patnaik by putting up posters and banners across the state, highlighting an award given to the chief minister by a news magazine.
He was referring to the Best Administrator Award recently conferred on Patnaik by the magazine.
"People have decided to end the Naveen Patnaik government which has failed on all fronts despite remaining in power for more than 17 years...They have decided to change the inefficient government," he said.
"Though there is a pipeline, there is no water in it. Similarly there are no teachers in schools and doctors in hospitals. This is the situation in the state capital," he said.
The Union minister also levelled corruption charge against the BJD government.
He alleged that the state government and the chief minister had promoted chit fund companies which "looted thousands of poor investors" across the state.
The chief minister and about 50 BJD MLAs had promoted ponzi companies but investors had not got back their deposits, even though the state government set up a judicial commission with a Rs 300-crore corpus fund for the purpose, he claimed.
"The people have been double-cheated here, by the government and by the ponzi firms," Javadekar said.
The minister also accused the state government of diverting money from central schemes into state-run projects.