Devbrat Patnaik

Bhubaneswar: Taking a dig at the Congress and the Communist Parties, senior BJP leader Prithviraj Harichandan today criticised the decision of the Congress to extend support to the nationwide bandh call by 10 Central trade unions (CTUs). While the trade unions claim to have resorted to shutdown over 14-point charter of demands including social security, minimum wages and employment among others, BJP has said that all parties backing the protests have different agendas, unlike Congress which is absolutely agenda-less.

Speaking to media, Harichandan said, "The demands of CPI, CPI (M), SUCI over Bharat Bandh do not match at all. All these parties have different demands whereas Congress has no demands at all. Is nation shutdown a joke for all these parties?"

"The second thing is Communist parties are professional agitators. They hit streets at regular intervals to uphold their identity as a party, nothing else. But Congress this time has no agenda. Under a spineless leadership, the party has extended its support to the shutdown affecting the normalcy. And surprisingly, no party or trade union has any clue why Congress is doing so," said the BJP leader.

BJD, on the other hand, has distanced itself from the nationwide agitation. "People always come up with several demands, but I am not in favour of holding protest by affecting normal life," said State water resources minister Raghunandan Das.

Odisha Mines Minister Prafulla Mallick said labour union met the Ministerial-level Committee to put forth several demands and we have intimated the same to CM Naveen Patnaik.

In response, OPCC chief Niranjan Patnaik opined, "It depends on BJP and BJD government whether our demands will be fulfilled or not but it is our moral responsibility to stage agitation for the rights of people. Emergency services have remained unaffected. I beg apology if people are facing any inconvenience."