BJD to intensify special category status for Odisha

Bhubaneswar: With Union Parliamentary Affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu raking up special category status issue in the Parliament on Friday, the ruling BJD in Odisha has decided to intensify its demand for the state.

While the Congress has seconded the decision of the BJD, the BJP, however, has said that the state government has failed to place its demand properly before the Centre.

“We had put forth our demand before the then UPA government which had fallen on deaf ears. Now we are going to place our demand before the BJP-led NDA government. We will try our best for fulfilment of our demand,” BJD spokesperson Pratap Jena told the media on Saturday.

The opposition Congress has also decided to extend its support to the state government.

“The Centre should make sincere efforts to accord special category status to states, which are grossly underdeveloped, like Odisha. Congress has been reiterating its demand for the special category status to Odisha and would continue in future”, senior Congress leader and leader of the Opposition Narasingh Mishra said.

However, the BJP claimed that the state government has failed to place its demand properly.

“There should be a justified demand to claim the special category status which the Odisha government has failed to place before the Centre till date. Only political demand would never serve the purpose of the state government. Prior to the BJD, the BJP had earlier placed its demand before the Centre. The party will have no problem if Odisha gets special category status”, senior BJP leader Bijoy Mahapatra said.

It may be mentioned that Naidu, in a statement in the Parliament on Friday, had said every state is now asking for special status.

“Bihar, West Bengal and Odisha have been demanding. Now the developed states have started demanding the same. So where do you go now? What had happened earlier and why had you not accorded special status to these states when you are in power?”, Naidu asked the Congress.

Notably, BJD supremo and chief minister Naveen Patnaik had come down heavily on the Centre for its gross apathy towards Odisha during the chasi samavesh at Sohela in Bargarh district recently.