Modi, Sonia attack Naveen, each other in Odisha rallies | india | Hindustan Times
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Modi, Sonia attack Naveen, each other in Odisha rallies

Political barometer shot up in Odisha's Balasore on Friday when BJP leader Narendra Modi and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi had an almost direct face-off.

india Updated: Apr 12, 2014 01:00 IST

Political barometer shot up in Odisha's Balasore on Friday when BJP leader Narendra Modi and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi had an almost direct face-off.

Both targeted "inefficient" Naveen Patnaik-led BJD government and took digs at each other at their back-to-back rallies.

"Due to BJD government's black magic, coal has disappeared, and so has employment," Modi told a large crowd.

Modi said the 2014 polls would herald a change and be the "farewell" for the Congress at the Centre and for BJD in Odisha because both parties were neck deep in corruption. "The Congress will not be able to open its account in Odisha," he said.

In Odisha, polls were held in the first phase on Thursday in 10 out of 21 LS constituencies and 70 out of 147 assembly seats. The rest will go to polls on April 17.

Responding to Modi in a rally in another part of the town in the afternoon, Gandhi charged the BJP with following divisive politics. "What is the path of our principal opponent, the BJP? Its to divide the society and people on the basis of communities. It promotes violence," said Gandhi. She added people should vote for the Congress as it "unites communities and castes".

Gandhi also trained her guns at BJD's "misrule" and "corruption" of 14 years.

Modi and Gandhi drew almost equal crowds of 50,000 plus. "We had come for Modi's rally, but we waited till afternoon to see Gandhi as well," said Adikanda Behera, a farmer from a nearby village.

Union minister Srikant Jena is seeking re-election from Balasore LS seat. He is pitted against BJP's Pratap Sarangi, a sitting MLA, and Rabindra Jena of BJD.

Modi addressed two other rallies in Keonjhar and Talcher, while Gandhi addressed another rally at Baripada, the headquarters of Mayurbhanj district.

Later, at another rally in Dhamtari (Chhattisgarh), Modi targeted former Chhattisgarh CM Ajit Jogi, saying he might be knowing some "secret" about the Gandhi family which made him indispensable to Sonia Gandhi.