BJD's priority is to fight for Odisha cause: Patnaik

Patnaik slams national parties; says BJD's priority is to fight for Odisha cause

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. Credit: PTI

With the BJP making all efforts to humble BJD in the local bodies polls after a good showing in the general elections, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday said primary objectives of the national parties were to win votes and form government at the centre while for his party top priority was to promote interests of Odisha.

The BJP which won 8 Lok Sabha seats in Odisha, only four less than the BJD's tally of 12, is working hard to upset the ruling party in the local bodies elections. While polls for the 114 urban local bodies are expected early next year the one for the panchayats would take place in a short time after that.

Addressing the Biju Yuva Janata Dal's first executive meeting here, Patnaik, who heads the regional party, also classified the role of the national parties in the state.

"What is the primary objective of the state leadership of a national party? They have to basically impress the national leadership so that they can get crucial posts or become ministers," Patnaik said. Stating that history has shown that national parties always have a mainstreaming agenda, Patnaik said, "It is only through mainstreaming that they can get maximum votes to form a government at the centre.

"Therefore, the national parties strategy revolves around uniform language (Hindi), uniform culture and uniform policies which will appeal to the large populous states and then impose the same across the country ignoring the unique identity of a certain population, the BJD president said.

Continuing with his tirade against the national parties, Patnaik said they are bound to "compromise" on the distinctive requirements of a state for gains in the larger national context.

On the other hand, Patnaik said for a regional party like BJD, the states language, culture & tradition is more important than the national parties priorities. "For us, our language Odia is more important than Hindi. For us, our Mahanadi is more sacred than any other river. For us, Odissi music is a classical art form. For us Kosali and Ho are mainstream languages," the chief minister said.

Odisha's rich diversity of tribal population is the pride of the state and Sambalpuri handloom is world-class. However, for a national party or their branches in states, these do not matter, Patnaik said adding that the state leaders of national parties neither have the voice to insist on protecting our unique heritage nor do they have the intent to do so in a hierarchical centralised national party structure.

Taking a look into the past, Patnaik said Congress governments in the state were "remote-controlled" from Delhi, while the BJP governments in other states also followed the directions of the national leadership. Congress, which ruled the eastern state for several years in the past, could win only in one Parliamentary constituency in the state last year and has yielded the opposition space to the saffron party.

Patnaik called upon the youths to compare the states growth trajectory under the leadership of a regional party that with the developments took place in state earlier ruled by a national party. While projecting his government, Patnaik claimed that BJD as a regional party stands for preserving and promoting the unique identity of Odisha.

"We don't have any bosses in Delhi. Our bosses are the four and a half crore people of Odisha. We have to impress only the people of Odisha and will continue to fight for their rights," the chief minister said.

"We have been fighting to declare Odissi music as classical. We have been fighting for the inclusion of Kosali and Ho languages in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution. We have been fighting for the benefits of our mineral riches to come to the state and its people," the BJD chief said.

Both the national parties -BJP and Congress- had kept special category status as their number one manifesto point. "However, after elections every time they conveniently forgot it, Patnaik said.

Patnaik's party which faced stiff challenge in the Parliamentary elections, however, stunned the rivals in the state polls that took place simultaneously with the national elections last year winning 111 seats in the 147-member Odisha assembly. The BJP could manage 22 seats in the state while the grand old party number shrunk to nine in the House. Patnaik became chief minister for the fifth consecutive time.

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