BHUBANESWAR: As the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) finds itself on the back foot over the issues of farmers’ suicide and drought, the party has decided to observe its 18th foundation day on a low key on Saturday.
The foundation day will be observed at the district level and all Ministers, MPs, MLAs and senior leaders have been asked to attend the functions, party vice-president and former minister Surya Narayan Patro said.
At the party headquarters here, the foundation day will be attended by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and three party MLAs from Bhubaneswar. However, the programme is yet to be finalised.
As factionalism is rearing its head in the regional outfit at the district level, there will be only one function at the district headquarters. Patro said there will be no official function at the block level though party workers cannot be prevented from observing the day.
The former minister said as the State is in the grip of a severe drought and farmers are in distress, the foundation day has been dedicated to farmers. Party leaders have been asked to discuss the steps taken by the Government for farmers and the package announced by the Chief Minister.
Besides, the step-motherly attitude of the Centre towards the State in releasing assistance from National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF) to tackle drought situation will also be highlighted. Party leaders will inform the people how the Centre is neglecting Odisha in disbursal of drought assistance whereas other States are getting timely financial aid, Patro said.
Meanwhile, the membership drive of the BJD came to an end on Friday. Besides election to State office-bearers, organisational changes in the Biju Yuva Janata Dal (BYJD) and the Biju Chhatra Janata Dal (BCJD) are also likely.
Hectic lobbying has already started among the aspirants for these two posts. While Minister of State for Food Supply and Consumer Welfare Sanjay Dasburma is continuing as the BYJD president, party MLA Byomakesh Ray is the BCJD chief.