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Naveen issues land rights among urban poor, BJP says eyewash ahead of polls | Bhubaneswar News

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday issued land ownership rights to around 65,000 urban poor families living in hundreds of slums, under a scheme that played a key role in helping him win the last election.

“The city is not only for the rich,” Patnaik told a rally as he praised the Jaga Mission, saying it gave “a new identity” to the poor. “The poor have the right to live in this city with self-esteem. Their labour, their hard work is in every brick used in the construction of this city.”

According to the government, since its launch in 2018, the Jaga Mission has given land rights to 1.72 lakh families across 110 urban local bodies, most of whom were slum dwellers.

With slum dwellers making up around 24% of state’s urban population, it was this scheme that was seen to have played a crucial role in the 2019 polls, which brought Patnaik to power for a fifth consecutive term.

The state is due for elections again next year.

At Monday’s rally, as he distributed the land rights to the families living in 875 slums, Patnaik called the event a “milestone” and said the scheme had attracted the attention “of the whole world”.

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“We are moving ahead… The government’s goal is to build a new Odisha, a strong Odisha, a transformed Odisha. Today’s programme will be a milestone towards achieving this goal,” he said. He also dedicated over 1,000 slums developed under the “Biju model” of colonies, with all urban amenities and facilities.

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The opposition BJP, which enjoys significant support among urban voters, slammed the CM for holding the event.

“Fake land rights certificates are being distributed to the slum dwellers ahead of the polls,” BJP’s state unit president Manmohan Samal said.

Calling Patnaik’s rally an “eyewash”, BJP workers held a protest in front of the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) office in the city.

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