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HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014

Maoists are strong where Congress is weak: Jairam Ramesh

PTI  Nuapada, February 16, 2013
First Published: 21:30 IST(16/2/2013) | Last Updated: 21:52 IST(16/2/2013)

A Rs. 100 crore package for Odisha's ultra-hit Nuapada district was on Saturday announced by Union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh who remarked that Maoists are strong in state's where Congress is weak.

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He also took a swipe at the Naveen Patnaik-led BJD ministry, dubbing it as a "sleeping government".

"It wakes up like Kumbhakarna when I visit," he said.

"Maoists are strong where Congress is weak. Take the case of Jharkhand and Odisha. While Congress is weak in Jharkhand, the party is out of power for over 12 years in Odisha," Ramesh told a meeting of panchayati raj institution functionaries here.

Claiming that development work taken up by Congress governments in different states kept Maoists at bay, Ramesh said similar steps should also be taken by non-Congress governments to defeat the ultras.

He said that the Rs. 100 crore would be spent in the first phase on different heads like construction of 120 km of roads under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, Indira Awas Yojana, strengthening of women's self-help groups, watershed projects and tribal livilihood projects.

On the situation in Sunabeda Sanctuary, which he could not visit after the discovery of explosives, Ramesh said while Saranda was a liberated zone now, Sunabeda continued to remain under the control of Maoists.

"There is a lot of difference between Saranda and Sunabeda," he said.

He was obviously referring to the state government's Rs. 238 crore development plan for Sunabeda Hill Area ahead of his visit to the tribal-dominated backward district.

Asked about his relationship with Patnaik, the union minister said "Naveen as chief minister will get all support from my ministry. But as the chief of the ruling BJD, I will oppose him politically."

During his visit, Ramesh oversaw different projects being implemented by the rural development ministry and interacted with the people.

Ramesh's visit came barely two days before AICC Vice-President Rahul Gandhi's visit to Odisha.

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