With Western Odisha fuming and the boycott threat of Urban Local Body elections looming large over the Assembly session beginning on Tuesday, the State Government’s cup of woes is only overflowing. Various lawyers’ associations are on the warpath and have decided to force closure of at least six western Odisha districts to press for their long pending demand for a separate High Court bench.
The Opposition parties, such as the BJP and the Congress, have already decided to raise the issue in a big way to embarrass the Government.
The Congress on Monday went a step ahead and called the boycott threat a constitutional crisis. It has sought the Governor’s intervention to end the possible impasse. ‘’We request the Governor to intervene to resolve the crisis and the State Government to recommend to the Centre a permanent bench of the High Court in Western Odisha,’’ chairman of the OPCC media cell Narasingh Mishra told mediapersons.
The BJP too has decided to raise the HC bench issue in a big way. It was critical of the State Government for sitting over the issue while the Centre had stated that it will consider it once a recommendation comes from the State. The Pal Commission, set up by the State Government more than six years ago, is yet to submit its report.
Lawyers in six districts of western Odisha will close down the Government offices and courts during the monsoon session of the Assembly. Under the aegis of All-Western Odisha Bar Association (AWOBA), the agitation is being held to mark their protest against the silence of the State Government on establishment of permanent High Court bench in the region. In fact, the Central Action Committee (CAC) of AWOBA has been spearheading the agitation over the demand. The agitation will conclude on August 28. Earlier, the CAC had issued an ultimatum to the State Government to recommend to the Centre the setting up the High Court bench by August 15.
The ruling BJD is also bracing for a showdown. In a bid to defang the Opposition attack, the BJD would rake up the skyrocketing onion price and its pet issue of special category status for the State.