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Nitesh Kumar Sahoo

Bhubaneswar: The Congress party in Odisha on Monday raised questions on the silence of the state's ruling BJD on the Bharat Bandh call given by farmer unions against the Centres new agri-marketing laws on December 8, and described the regional party as part of the BJP.

"The BJD's silence (on the issue) has exposed its real face. While regional parties across the country have been supporting the farmers, it is the BJD alone in Odisha which remained silent. The party is anti-farmer and part of the BJP," state Congress president Niranjan Patnaik said.

Stating that farmers are the backbone of the nation, Patnaik said that all should join the protest to safeguard the interests of the "Annadatta" (who provides food).

He also called upon party workers to maintain peace during the Bharat Bandh on Tuesday.

The Biju Janata Dal (BJD), however, said that it has always been with the farming community.

BJD vice-president Debi Prasad Mishra said that the regional party has always been with farmers.

"The state government has extended its moral support to the farming community and it has made its stance very clear on this matter in Parliament," Mishra said.

The Naveen Patnaik-led party, which backed the BJP-led government at the Centre on various occasions, opposed the three Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill and The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and the Farm Services Bill, in Parliament.

(With PTI Inputs)

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