Mixed response to BJD’s strike call against Centre

Bhubaneswar, April 26 (IANS) The 12-hour strike called by the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in Odisha Friday against the central government’s alleged neglect of the state evoked a mixed response, an official said.

While shops down shutters in many places, commercial and passenger vehicles stayed off the roads. Rail services were disrupted partially as protestors squatted on tracks at railway stations.

However, central government offices, schools and educational institutions remained unaffected. Attendance in state government offices was thin, a police official told IANS.

BJD leaders and workers, including ministers and lawmakers, carried out processions at several places, including in state capital Bhubaneswar.

Carrying posters and banners and shouting slogans against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, BJD activists and leaders also picketed outside central government offices.

“There was no report of any untoward incident from any parts of the state” the official said.

The BJD alleged that the allocation of Rs.1,000 crore by the central government to the state for the next four years towards the backward region grant was inadequate.

“It is unfortunate that the central government is discriminating against Odisha on political considerations. This is a clear case of negligence to the state and a case of political injustice,” chief minister and president of BJD Naveen Patnaik had earlier said.

On the other hand, state Congress president Niranjan Patnaik had said that the BJD government was not able to get more funds because it was “inefficient and was not able to utilise the funds already sanctioned by the central government”.

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