BJD workers to fast demanding special category tag for Odisha

Bhubaneswar: Intensifying its stir on special category status for Odisha issue, the ruling BJD headed by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today decided to organise an eight-hour hunger strike in the second phase of agitation which begins tomorrow.

This was decided at a joint meeting of BJD party observers for different districts and vice-presidents of the regional outfit chaired by Patnaik.

"Our people will keep fast from 10 am to 5 pm on either July 12, 15 or 16. The district leaders will decide the date to go for symbolic fasting in support of the demand of SCS for Odisha," said BJD vice-president and finance minister Prasanna Acharya.

Stating that the party was forced to launch second phase of agitation against centre over the SCS issue, Acharya said the local party units will hold hunger strike in front of blocks, municipalities and notified area councils.

The party decided to resume agitation from tomorrow marking completion of one month of the BJD's Swabhiman Rally at Delhi. "Though one month has passed since we held the rally at Delhi, the central government has no concern over our demand of SCS for Odisha," he said.

Noting that Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram had proposed changes in criteria for identifying a state as special category state, BJD's another vice-president Kalpataru Das said: "We are yet to know about changes they have made in the criteria".

The BJD also wanted to know about the sub-committee which was set up to study the backwardness of states.

The party had earlier submitted one crore signatures to President of India supporting the BJD's demand of SCS for Odisha. "However, there was no impact on our demand", Das said alleging that the Centre's attitude towards poor states are now exposed.

In another decision, the party also decided to hold rallies in all the block headquarters, municipalities, NACs and districts highlighting Central negligence towards the state.

"The party also discussed on the ensuing urban local body elections," Das informed.