Naveen Patnaik demands special status for Odisha

Says the state satisfies all conditions

Biju Janata Dal (BJD) president and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday demanded a special status to the state. Addressing a huge rally at Ramlila Maidan, Patnaik asserted that Odisha satisfies all the conditions for a special status.

 Following the method adopted by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to make his presence felt in the rally, Patnaik summoned about 30,000-strong crowd to Ramlila Maidan.

“The policy of political discrimination pursued by the UPA government is a dangerous trend. It is not conducive to a healthy federal structure. The UPA government is following different policies for different states,” Patnaik said. 

He alleged that the self-interest of the Congress party is the sole criteria for Central assistance. It ignores the just demands of states like Odisha.

“The Central government has been giving funds to different states on political considerations. Should the money paid by crores of tax payers of the country be used for a narrow interest of a political party?” he asked. The Odisha chief minister spoke in Odia to signify the pride of his state.

Patnaik also supported the idea of a third front and termed it beneficial for the country. However, he denied that he had made any move in this regard.

Congress decries BJD rally in Delhi

Congress leaders in Odisha have lambasted the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) for holding a “Swabhiman” rally in New Delhi to put pressure on the Union government to grant special-category status for the state,DHNS reports from Bhubaneshwar. The rally was organised at the Ramlila ground in the national capital on Wednesday.

It was attended by almost the entire BJD leadership, along with party workers.  Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik, who also heads the regional outfit, presided over the rally. Seven special trains were used to ferry party workers from different places in Odisha to New Delhi.

Senior party leaders were flown in via service flights. The Congress leaders described the BJD rally in New Delhi — its first outside the state — as a high-voltage political drama aimed at the 2014 elections.

They said the ruling party had no moral right to demand special-category status when its government in the state had been repeatedly failing to utilise funds being sent by the Centre. “By holding the rally, the BJD is misleading people in the state and hiding its government’s failures on different fronts,” said  PCC chief Jayadev Jena.

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