The Assembly on Friday witnessed noisy scenes with the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) members disrupting the proceedings demanding Special Category State (SCS) status for Odisha.
The House could meet for only three minutes during the day as the BJD members rushed to the well with placards demanding SCS status for the State. Even as the Assembly was in a turmoil, the BJD leaders and workers protested outside the House over the same demand.
The statement of Union Minister of State for Planning, Rajiv Shukla, in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday that Odisha does not qualify for SCS status under the existing criteria, sparked off the protest by the BJD.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik reiterated the demand for SCS status for Odisha. “It is most unfortunate that Union Minister Rajiv Shukla denied Odisha’s rightful demand. We will continue our rightful struggle for SCS status for Odisha,” Naveen told mediapersons outside.
As soon as the question hour began, the BJD MLAs rushed to the well raising slogans condemning the UPA Government’s anti-Odisha attitude. Slogan shouting by the Congress members also added to the noise. The Congress members were heard asking what was the Chief Minister doing when the demand was rejected by the NDA government. As the din continued, the House was first adjourned till 12.30 pm, then till 3 pm and later for the day.
The BJD MLAs and some ministers staged a dharna near Mahatma Gandhi’s statue on the Assembly premises in support of the demand. The ministers and BJD MLAs also marched to Raj Bhavan and submitted a memorandum to Governor S C Jamir in this regard.
Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh, however, defended the UPA Government and claimed that it was Congress president Sonia Gandhi who was trying to find ways to accord SCS status to Odisha and other backward States. Criticising the BJD for playing politics over the issue to cover up the scams, Singh wanted to know what were the ruling party leaders doing when the NDA government rejected Odisha’s demand? Now the UPA Government has set up a committee to determine backwardness of States, he said.
Singh said adjournment notice given by the Congress for discussion on the SCS issue was accepted by the Speaker. “Instead of participating in the debate, the BJD members disrupted the proceeding for narrow political gain,” he said.
Supporting the SCS for Odisha, BJP Legislature Party leader Jaynarayan Mishra criticised both the BJD and the Congress for doing politics over the matter.