In the wake of the launch of Bhubaneswar-Surat direct flight from Monday, the ruling BJD and the opposition BJP vied with each other on Thursday to take credit for the commencement of the air services. Assembly Speaker Surjya Narayan Patro at a function of non-resident Odias in Surat said the flight services could take off only because of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s efforts.
The Speaker’s statement sparked a controversy and a debate between the two parties.
Adding fuel to the fire, Government Chief Whip Pramila Mallick said that the credit for the flight services goes to the Chief Minister, but the BJP is unnecessarily taking mileage out of it.
In his reaction, BJP State general secretary Prithviraj Harichandan said the Assembly Speaker should keep the sanctity of his post by abiding by the Supreme Court’s directive. He should not issue statements which could tarnish his image, he said.
“It is wrong to say that only because of the Odisha Chief Minister the flight services to Surat from Bhubaneswar could begin. The roles of Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and other leaders cannot be ignored in this regard. However, we accept the fact that the Chief Minister had written to the Centre demanding launch of the Bhubaneswar-Surat flight services,” said Harichandan. The Air India’s Bhubaneswar-Surat flight services began on January 20. The flight operates between Bhubaneswar and Surat on Mondays and Thursdays while the flight services from Surat to Bhubaneswar are available on Fridays and Sundays.