BHUBANESWAR: The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) will raise the demand for special category State status for Odisha, 33 per cent reservation for women in assemblies and Lok Sabha and several other issues during the winter session of Parliament scheduled to begin from December 11.
BJD’s strategy for the winter session was discussed at the meeting of the BJD Parliamentary Party presided by Chief Minister and party supremo Naveen Patnaik. “The party will demand special status for Odisha in both Houses of the Parliament,” BJD spokesperson and Rajya Sabha member Pratap Deb said after the meeting held at Naveen Nivas here on Sunday.
Deb said the BJD was opposed to the Centre’s stand that the special category status cannot be accorded to any State as per the recommendations of the Niti Aayog. “The norms can be changed as the State deserves to get the special category status,” Deb said.
The BJD leader said the party MPs will raise several other issues including 33 per cent reservation for women in Parliament and state assemblies. The MPs will demand financial assistance for cyclonic storm Titli-hit districts in the State as the Centre has ignored demand in this regard. Besides, delay in completion of railway projects in the State will be raised by the MPs.
“We will lay emphasis on the Central negligence towards Odisha,” party’s Rajya Sabha member Soumya Ranjan Patnaik said. Besides, the BJD MPs will raise issues like construction of Polavaram dam by Andhra Pradesh without resolving the contentious issue and the Centre’s tacit support to it, Odisha’s dispute with Chhattisgarh over Mahanadi river water, change in the funding pattern of scholarship for SC/ST students and the demand for running a train in the name of Buxi Jagabandhu and hike in minimum support price of paddy, he said.
Other issues to be raised by the BJD MPs during the session include sanction of financial assistance to Odisha for rehabilitation and restoration measures in the areas hit by the very severe cyclone Titli, recognising the Paika rebellion in Odisha as the first war of independence and reduction of GST on kendu leaf from 18 per cent to 5 per cent.