BJD launches protests against price rise

BJD launches protests against price rise

Before the beginning of the sit-in-dharna near Raj Bhavan, hundreds of youths of the ruling party hit the streets with bullock carts, bicycles and trolleys

Biju Janata Dal (BJD) women’s wing stage a demonstration against hike in prices of essential commodities, in Bhubaneswar. Credit: PTI Photo

Members of the womens’ wing of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in Odisha on Sunday cooked on clay ‘chulhas’ (ovens) on the streets here as a mark of protest against LPG price hike.

Youth workers of the ruling party in Odisha rode bicycles and bullock carts to the ‘dharna’ site near the Raj Bhavan to highlight spiralling fuel prices that are causing hardships to the common people.

Leaders and supporters of the ruling party, led by Bhubaneswar (North) MLA Susant Kumar Rout, staged a sit-in near the Raj Bhavan here protesting the price rise of fuel, cooking gas and essential items.

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BJD party leaders, including ministers, MLAs, leaders of all frontal wings, came down heavily on the BJP-led government and blamed its “faulty” economic management for the “unabated” rise in the prices of essential commodities.

The party also submitted a memorandum at the Raj Bhavan addressed to the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind. As Governor Ganeshi Lal is not present in the state, his office received the memorandum, said senior BJD leader Sanjay Das Burma.

Addressing the gathering, Das Verma, who is also the vice-chairman of the State Planning Board, attacked the Centre for its “complete mismanagement of the economy”.

BJD vice-president Debi Prasad Mishra said if the Centre did not take steps to bring down the skyrocketing prices, the BJD would be forced to take the protests to every village of Odisha and even to the national capital.

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Before the beginning of the sit-in-dharna near Raj Bhavan, hundreds of youths of the ruling party hit the streets with bullock carts, bicycles and trolleys, demanding rollback of fuel prices.

Rout said petrol price in Bhubaneswar has crossed the Rs 110-mark on Sunday after a 35 paise per litre hike for the fifth consecutive day. Government Chief Whip Pramila Mallick said the BJD would no more tolerate the further rise in the price of fuel and demanded immediate rollback of the prices of petrol, diesel and cooking gas. She said the BJD will organise similar protest meetings in all the 147 assembly constituencies of the state.

The BJD leaders said it is unfortunate that the BJP government has no concern for the people who have been struggling due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Odisha’s culture minister Ashok Chandra Panda said that the prices of petrol and diesel have reached a record high in the past two years and the BJD will never remain silent over this issue and raise its voice in the public interest.

The opposition BJP and Congress, however, criticised the BJD and claimed that it was a ploy to divert the attention of the people from the kidnap and murder case of a woman teacher in Kalahandi district.

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“Pushed to a corner due to the state-wide furore over the teacher’s killing and a state minister’s alleged link with the prime accused, the ruling party has resorted to diversionary tactic with this protest,” BJP state general secretary Prithviraj Harichandan said.

Senior Congress MLA Suresh Routray also slammed the BJD for remaining silent for a long time and highlighting the matter only after the opposition parties staged protests across the state over the teacher’s killing.

“The entire state is now on the boil over the teacher’s murder and the alleged close links of Minister of State for Home DS Mishra with the prime accused. … There is no doubt that the BJD’s protest is just an attempt to cover up the wrongdoings by the state minister,” Routray said.

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