Even as the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) on Monday launched its three-day stir demanding Special Category State status to Odisha, factionalism reared its head in the State Congress.
The Bhubaneswar District Congress Committee (BDCC) filed FIR at Khandagiri police station against BJD supremo and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for irregularities in the distribution of BPL rice. However, another group of Congressmen, Youth Congress and Student Congress members, who are not in any official position, met under the banner of the Congress Suraksha Manch to express their dissatisfaction over frequent changes in the State leadership.
Manch Convenor Nihar Ranjan Pradhan said though several senior Congressmen were expected to attend the meeting, they could not make it because of other engagements. Several of them have assured to attend the next meeting of the Manch. Former MP Soumya Ranjan Patnaik attended the meeting. Sources said the Manch will be built up as a pressure group within the Congress and in its next meeting, members will be invited from all the blocks. There was no official reaction of the Congress to the meeting.
Meanwhile, the OPCC criticised the three-day stir of the BJD as an election gimmick. While Naveen Patnaik was a minister at the Centre, he had announced that Odisha will be declared as special category State within six months, medical cell chairman of OPCC Narsingh Mishra said and added that the BJD also promised this in its 2000 election manifesto.
Though NDA was in power at the Centre for five years, Naveen forgot about the promise, the Congress leader said and alleged that now that the election is round the corner, he is trying to divert people’s attention by resorting to gimmicks.