Countering Rahul Gandhi's remark that Vedanta's mining project at Niyamgiri hills was illegal, an Orissa BJD minister on Saturday claimed that the Congress leader does not understand reality.
"Prime minister Manmohan Singh has realised the need for industrialisation, but not Rahul. He does not realise reality," BJD Vice-President and Agriculture minister Damodar Rout said.
In case Vedanta committed any illegality, it could be punished according to law and the state government should not be blamed for it, he said.
Rout said, "The question is whether states like Orissa, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh where density of tribals is more and availability of natural resources is abundant, will go for industrialisation or endure poverty."
On the Polavaram project in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, which Orissa has opposed, he said, "There can't be double standards. The utterance and action of Congress will simply keep tribals in a state of permanent poverty."
Stating that preservation of forest and environment was essential for all, he said "at the same time, poverty in tribal areas need to be tackled. Though Congress has been speaking about tribal welfare, its actions are different."