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Saswat Singhdeo

Bhubaneswar: As BJD launched its membership drive at party headquarters in Bhubaneswar today, Opposition slammed the ruling party over making Aadhaar linking mandatory for such membership.

While BJP accused BJD of threatening existing beneficiaries and contriving to include ineligible beneficiaries in government schemes through such Aadhaar linking exercise, Congress called it a political gimmick to woo voters.

“The same BJD which was against Aadhaar has now made it mandatory for its party membership. By doing this they will threaten the existing beneficiaries and use government schemes to strong-arm them,” said Odisha BJP vice-president, Samir Mohanty.

Former Pradesh Congress Committee President, Jayadev Jena, said, “By making Aadhaar mandatory for party membership, BJD is planning to keep people like mortgages.”

Refuting the allegations, BJD vice-president Prasanna Acharya said, “We have not done that (mandatory Aadhaar linking) to threaten people. Perhaps, Opposition parties are scared of such an extensive plan.”

“BJD making Aadhaar linking mandatory for new members is misuse of the facility,” political expert Prasanna Mohanty said.

BJD’s Treasurer, Subash Singh said, “We have made Aadhaar linking mandatory for all projects to avoid duplication. BJD doesn’t harbour any intention to threaten anyone.”

The membership drive was officially launched today in the presence of party president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who became first member from Ekamra constituency's ward no 53. Along with Minister Ashok Panda, the BJD president inducted 24 other members into the party.

As per reports, a committee has been formed by the party with MLA Debi Prasad Mishra as Convener. Under his leadership, the committee has planned to execute the membership drive at grassroots level. While the membership drive will be carried out both offline as well as online, the party aims to induct 1 crore new members.

"Our aim is to reach every household across the State through this programme. We hope that with the blessings of Odisha residents, membership drive will be successful," said Patnaik.

The membership drive will continue till October 31.

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