Rashmi Ranjan

The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) members on Sunday took out a massive rally near Raj Bhawan in Bhubaneswar protesting the spiralling prices of fuel and other essential commodities in the State.

Hundreds of agitating ruling party workers hit the streets with bullock carts, bicycles and trolleys and demanded immediate cut in the fuel prices. Similarly, women leaders and party members of Biju Mahila Janata Dal staged a sit-in and lit hearths on road to protest LPG cylinder price hike. 

Later, a delegation of the members of the ruling party met Governor Professor Ganeshi Lal and submitted a memorandum to him addressed to President Ram Nath Kovind. The BJD also threatened to launch a State-wide protest in case the Centre fails to take necessary steps to address the price hike.

As per the party sources, the BJD is set to organise protest meetings in all the 147 Assembly constituencies of the State on Monday.

Terming the skyrocketing prices of the essential commodities and fuel as unfortunate and deplorable, senior BJD leader Debi Mishra said, “The various taxes including GST imposed by the Centre has resulted in record rise in fuel prices and it is pinching the common man's pockets in the State.”

Meanwhile, Opposition BJP and Congress have alleged that the ruling BJD is organising such protests to divert attention of people from the sensational Mamita Meher murder case.

“By organising such protests, the ruling party is diverting people's attention from the state-wide hue and cry over Kalahandi lady teacher Mamita Meher murder case,” said BJP state general secretary Prithviraj Harichandan.

Echoing similar views, senior Congress leader Sura Routray said, “While the entire Odisha has turned into a battleground over Mamita Meher’s murder case, such protest by BJD at this point of time is just an attempt to cover up the wrongdoing by the state minister.”