Mrunal Manmay Dash

A political slugfest erupted in Odisha on Friday after the Orissa High Court restricted the government from creating new districts.

Blaming the Odisha government, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Pradeep Purohit said that the government does not actually want to accord district status to Padampur. Purohit claimed that the government had made such assurance to the people back then only to influence the voters and win the by-election.

“Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has betrayed the people of Padampur. He had assured them to accord district status to the Padampur subdivision in a bid to make BJD win the by-election. But as he actually does not want to make it a district, Patnaik roped in lawyers to file a writ petition and obtain a stay order from the court,” Purohit alleged.

Patnaik asked the High Court before assuring Padampur people to give them district status? Did any court put a stay order when late Biju Babu announced 17 more districts making it 30 in Odisha?” Purohit asked.

The Congress too came out and targeted the State government saying the people of Odisha will give them a befitting reply for this betrayal in the 2024 elections.

“Government cannot create new districts arbitrarily. There are certain rules and criteria to fulfill before announcing any district. Naveen Patnaik should not have announced to make Padampur a new district back then. It was a violation of the Election Model Code of Conduct. But nobody listened to us then when we said so,” said Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee Chief Sharat Patnaik.

“The BJD emerged as the only winner from this and the people of Padampur ended up as losers. The BJD won in the bi-election by making false promises. The BJD has been sitting on power since the last 24 years only by this kind of cheating,” Patnaik alleged.

Responding to the developments, BJD MLA Prasanta Kumar Muduli said, “Be it block, panchayat or district, necessary demands of people have been fulfilled or on the process to be fulfilled by the Odisha government. So the verdict will have an impact as the people are witnessing a lot of projects are under process or are about to be implemented. The formation of the district takes place under Constitutional norms. The Odisha government is also aware and concerned about it.  Everything will be done after complying with norms and appropriate measures will be taken at a favourable time.”

The Orissa High Court on Friday directed the state government not to form any new district while hearing a writ petition alleging that many new districts were created without laying down any criteria at the caprice and whims of the government.

ReadOrissa High Court Says No to Creation of New District 'at Caprice and Whims of Govt'

A division bench of acting Chief Justice BR Sarangi and Justice Murahari Sri Raman on Thursday ruled that the process of reorganization of the district, which the State government wants to undertake may continue, but the State cannot pass any final order without the consent of High Court.