Mrunal Manmay Dash

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday protested the alleged use of bags branded with ‘Ama Odisha Nabin Odisha’ and ‘5T’ by the Odisha government in the distribution of PDS rice provided by the Centre.

The protest was reported from a PDS ration distribution point at Mastrapara in Phulbani town.

The BJP members protested the use of such bags by the PDS dealer and urged him to refrain from the act. But he reportedly continued to distribute rice provided by the Centre with bags branded with State government schemes, following which the BJP members burnt all such bags.

The burning of bags created a face off situation between the BJP and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) members.

BJP’s Lok Sabha Coordinator for Kandhamal, Ramesh Chandra Mohanty said, “People are getting to know that the rice is actually provided by the Central government. The BJD members have gone mad by seeing their vote bank getting away from their hands. Frustrated BJD leaders have now resorted to bag politics by misleading people with Odisha government logos on them.”

“I was distributing PDS rice in the bags. Four to five people came suddenly and asked me to stop. When I did not stop, they took away my bags from the shop,” said the PDS dealer Laba Dakua.

The PDS dealer and Phulbani MLA, Angad Kahanr lodged a complaint against BJP members at Phulbani Town Police Station in this connection.

“The people are getting Rs 1 rice in the bags branded with 5T logo. They restricted the rice distribution. I want strict action against them,” said Kahanr.

It is pertinent to mention here that a similar protest was held at Balugaon in Khordha over allegations of hijacking the PDS rice by the Odisha government to get undue political benefit.

To press their point, BJP members took out a protest march at Balugaon and burnt bags with those logos in front of a PDS dealer point at the NAC.