HC bench row: All-party meet decides to boycott ULB polls

Sambalpur: Intensifying their stir demanding establishment of a High Court bench in western Odisha, an all-party meeting here on Monday decided to boycott urban polls until an official declaration from the government regarding the setting up of the bench in the region.
The meeting convened by Sambalpur district lawyers association also agreed on the resolution that the stir would be taken to panchayat level in the coming days if demand of the agitators was not met.
“If the State government does not give a statement on the establishment of High Court bench in our region, we will boycott the ensuing urban polls,” Sureswar Mishra, spokesperson, Central Action Committee said. 
According to sources, all the 10 western district presidents and workers of political partiers present in the meeting also agreed not to participate in the election until a positive statement from the government reaches them.
“We have also decided in today’s meeting that the strike would be taken to village and panchayat levels to make our voice heard,” added Mishra.
BJP district president Nauri Nayak stated that the party would go with “No court, No vote” slogan to strengthen its voice in support of the demand.
Meanwhile, the State government has said that it was not adverse to establishment of more High Court benches in the state.
"The State government can write a letter favouring establishment of a bench of the High Court in western region without waiting for the final report of the C R Pal Commission of Inquiry. The state government is ready to write to the Centre," Finance Minister Prasana Acharya, who represents Rairakhol segment in Sambalpur district in Western Odisha said.
Acharya's statement came after the talk between the agitating lawyers and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik failed to break the deadlock on the ongoing strike in the 10 western Odisha districts. All the government offices and judicial courts remained closed since August 20 as the lawyers body, supported by all political parties, ensured no official and judicial activities in the region.