Swabhiman Samabesh: BJD leaders unleash their fury against Centre

New Delhi: BJD leaders unleashed their fury against the Union Government at the Swabhiman Samabesh held in Delhi on Wednesday for alleged gross neglect of the state by the Centre. All the top leaders of the BJD including the CM, senior ministers, MPs, MLAs and other functionaries launched a concerted attack against the Centre for ignoring the state’s “legitimate demands” for getting special category status from the Centre. The Ramlila Maidan was chock-a-block with BJD supporters as the leaders launched vociferous attacks against the Centre. BJD supporters waved flags with enthusiasm as the leaders competed with each other to berate the Centre.
 In his speech, BJD president and chief minister Naveen Patnaik said, “The UPA Government has adopted different yardsticks for different states in the distribution of financial resources. Such discriminatory policies based on political motives pose danger to India’s federal structure. 
The Centre is even discriminating states while allocating financial assistance for floods and other natural disasters. Odisha has already made considerable progress and its Human Development Index has improved in recent years. However, we will completely wipe out poverty in next 10 years if Odisha is accorded special category status by the Centre. It’s not a demand of the BJD only, but of 4.5 crore people belonging to Odisha”.
A bevy of BJD heavyweights also vented their ire against the Centre. Ministers like Kalpataru Das and Surya Patro stated in their address that people of Odisha have not come to Delhi with a begging bowl, but to press their legitimate demands and make their voice heard in “Delhi durbar”. 
Kendrapara MP Baijayant Panda in his address said, “It does not matter if the present criteria for granting Special Category Status are changed or not. Under the present criteria, Odisha certainly qualifies to get Special category Status. 
The state has higher proportion of tribal population, inaccessible areas, higher poverty ratio than some of the states which have been granted special status and 500-km of international border along the eastern coast”. The Centre has so far declined to consider coastline as international border.
MP Pinaki Mishra, who addressed the gathering in Hindi, warned the Centre not to turn a deaf ear to the legitimate demands of the state. Dhenkanal MP Tathagat Satpathy in his address lauded Naveen’s role in forging a Third Front as an alternative political formation at the Centre.
The BJD had left no stones unturned in organizing this rally at Ramlila Maidan of Delhi. All the ministers except Badri Narayan Patra and Lal Bihari Himrika attended this rally in Delhi. Nearly 15,000 party workers were ferried in seven special trains to Delhi and an equal number was mobilized from Delhi and surrounding areas. 
Many Delhi-based Odia organizations joined hands with the BJD for the success of the rally. While special accommodation facilities were done for 5000 people at Ramlila Maidan, others were lodged in 22 dharmasalas across Delhi and adjacent areas. Special transportation facilities had also been done to ferry the BJD workers and supporters to the venue of the rally in Delhi.