BJD seeks special status for Odisha, to protest in Delhi

Bhubaneswar, June 2 (IANS) Odisha’s ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) Sunday said it would hold a rally in New Delhi June 12 to protest the central government’s apathy in not according special category status to the state.

BJD vice president and state Panchayati Raj Minister Kalpataru Das said 30,000 people are expected to attend the Swabhiman Samavesh rally at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi.

The state assembly had passed a resolution in April seeking a special category status for Odisha. Similar resolutions were also put forth by large number of panchayati raj institutions and urban local bodies in the state.

The ruling party, which observed a two-day statewide strike in April and launched a signature campaign to strengthen its stand on the issue, intends to submit a memorandum to the central government with one crore signatures, he said.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who is also president of the BJD, has been pressing for special category status to Odisha for a long time, citing the state as one of the poorest in the country. He has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh many times in this regard.

According to Patnaik, Odisha satisfies most of the criteria for special status, except that it does not have an international boundary.

On the other hand, the opposition Congress accused the ruling party of raising the special category status issue to divert attention of the people from the chit fund scams (ponzi scheme scam) that rocked the state recently.

The Congress will stage demonstrations across the state June 5 to protest the government’s failure to check the scam, state party president Jayadeb Jena told reporters.

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