BJD readies for Delhi rally

Bhubaneswar: The month-long signature campaign of ruling BJD supporting demand for Special Category Status (SCS) for Odisha marked its culmination on Sunday with BJD president and CM Naveen Patnaik receiving a document from party leaders containing signatures of above crore people from across the state here at a meeting.
 
Naveen addressing the gathering said a memorandum carrying the signatures would be handed over to president Pranb Mukherjee after the party’s ‘Swabhiman Samabesh’ in New Delhi on June 12.
 
Reiterating his demand for SCS, Patnaik said, “Though the State meets all the criteria for Special Category Status except having an international boundary, the UPA-led Central government rejected the genuine demand of the people of Odisha.”
 
“Our Delhi rally on June 12 will definitely strengthen the State's demand and put pressure on the Centre,” added the CM.
 
On the other hand, Congress has termed such rally as a political farce. Senior leader and Union minister Srikant Jena said while the Center was considering to relook on criteria for special status, BJD’s plan to launch a rally against the Center was a political gimmick.
 
“BJD is hoodwinking people by raking up special category status when Centre has set up a committee to revisit criteria,” stated Jena.  
 
BJD’s Sunday rally was attended by senior party leaders like Damodar Rout, Prafulla Chandra Ghadei, Anjali Behera who also spoke about the Center’s apathetic attitude towards Odisha.
 
Party sources said, on Monday, as many as seven trains with 22 bogies each will carry at least 15,000 party workers and supporters and leave for Delhi for the Ramlila Maidan (rally venue) gathering. The rally, which would follow Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar's 'Adhikar' rally in New Delhi in March to press for SCS for his state, would be attended by over 30,000 people, BJD leaders said.
 
“The trains would start from Puri, Cuttack, Jajpur, Berhampur, Koraput, Sambalpur and Rourkela on Monday," Biju Yuva Janata Dal president Sanjay Dasburma said.