CM asks BJD MPs to safeguard State interest

Bhubaneswar: In the backdrop of Odisha’s interest being “adversely affected” by various legislations brought by the Modi government in Parliament recently, BJD supremo and chief minister Naveen Patnaik held a meeting of BJD MPs with an aim to finalise a strategic roadmap to safeguard the State’s interests.

“We had detailed discussions on how our members should raise in Parliament various issues related to Odisha and benefit the State,” Patnaik said after the meeting, which was attended by both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha members of the party.

The ruling BJD has 28 MPs – 20 in the Lower House and eight in the Upper House.

Accusing the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre of discriminating against Odisha, Patnaik asked the BJD MPs to play the role of Opposition in both the Houses of Parliament and safeguard the interest of the State.

Alleging that the Centre ignored Odisha’s interest both in the 14th Finance Commission recommendations and in the 2015-16 general budget, the chief minister also called upon for intensifying the fight against the Centre.

To a question, Patnaik said there is no difference in BJD’s Parliamentary party on opposition to the Centre. “There is no such difference in BJD Parliamentary Party,” he said.

BJD Parliamentary Party leader in Lok Sabha Bhartruhari Mahtab said, “We discussed on various issues to be raised by us in Parliament and the stance to be taken on issues raised by others. We will play the role of constructive opposition in Parliament. There should be no doubt over the BJD’s role as we are sitting in opposition bench.”

“While the Prime Minister claims that Centre has raised the share of States somewhere even up to 62 percent, this is pure mathematical jugglery. We will place fact-based documents in the House,” Mahtab said.

He said though BJP leaders are claiming that Odisha would get above Rs 1 lakh crore from the auction of coal and iron ore mines, the reality is different. “Odisha is likely to get Rs 500 to Rs 700 crore from coal block auction. Rest Rs 99,500 crore goes to other States and not Odisha,” Mahtab claimed.

Party’s Kendrapara MP Baijayant Panda said after the general budget, the party has taken a few decisions on various issues and demands to be placed in Parliament keeping in mind the State’s interests. “We will continue to play the role of a constructive Opposition,” he added.

The ruling BJD, which had been accused of being hand in glove with BJP, made it clear that it stands for the interest of the State. “We will fight for the people of Odisha and this is the lone agenda of the BJD,” another BJD MP Prasanna Patsani said.