The Odisha Jana Morcha (OJM), the forum floated by BJD dissident Pyarimohan Mohapatra ostensibly to bring reforms in the regional outfit, on Thursday alleged that the State Government is trying to muzzle its voice by delaying permission for holding a rally at the Lower PMG square.
The police are trying to restrict the number of people at the rally to 5,000, but the Morcha has sought permission for 50,000 people, OJM convenor Jagneswar Babu told this paper.
Jagneswar said the Police Commissioner was requested on October 1 to allow the Morcha to hold a rally of around 50,000 people on any day between October 28 and November 1. He said the Morcha had brought to the notice of the police that the restriction should not apply to the OJM since the Congress had been allowed to organise a rally at the same place on September 6 which was attended by more than 50,000 people.
If the Morcha is not allowed to hold a rally of 50,000 people it will be considered as a discriminatory step, Jagneswar said. The Morcha was floated on September 30 to work as a forum inside the BJD to democratise the functioning of the regional outfit. Jagneswar was the only BJD leader who openly joined the Morcha as the chief spokesperson.
Reacting to the formation of the Morcha, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had described it as a B team of the Congress and said it would have no impact on the people of the State. Jagneswar had said the statement of Naveen was ‘irresponsible’.
The Chief Minister suspended Jagneswar on Wednesday to quell the rising dissidence in the party and serve a warning to fence-sitters. The aims and objectives of Morcha will be announced by BJD MP Mohapatra on October 19.