Modi-Naveen meet: All eyes on Odisha CM’s demands  

Bhubaneswar: After the recently-concluded elections, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the first time on June 11 in New Delhi during which the former may the reiterate Special Category Status and other long-standing demands for Odisha.

The Odisha CM is expected to demand financial assistance for a long-term plan to combat natural disasters, release of assistance demanded for restoration work post cyclone Fani, more budgetary allocation for Odisha, a hike in coal royalty, among others.

Apart from PM Modi, the Odisha CM will also meet Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and a few other Union Ministers and attend Niti Aayog’s Governing Council meeting on June 15.

“There are five main demands including Special Category Status for Odisha. The Centre must have special sanction schemes for the State,” said Parliamentary party leader of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in Lok Sabha, Pinaki Mishra.

On the other hand, ahead of CM Naveen’s visit to the national capital, talks over Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker post being granted to BJD has intensified with Bhartruhari Mahtab, the leader of the party in the 16th Lok Sabha, touted as one of the frontrunners.

Speaking on the rumours that BJD may get an offer, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said, “Speaker post is given to someone from the ruling party and Deputy Speaker post is given to someone outside the party. BJP had given the post of Deputy Speaker to Thambi Durai of the AIADMK in 2014. Only in future, everyone will get to know who will be the next Deputy Speaker.”

Commenting on the speculations of a BJD MP getting the post of Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha, senior journalist Rajaram Satpathy said, “If any MP from BJD is given the post of Deputy Speaker, it could be a loss to the Odisha unit of BJP.”