Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit here, Congress today demanded grant of special category state status or a special financial package to Odisha. As Modi is coming to attend BJP’s national executive meeting beginning here tomorrow, he should announce special category state status for Odisha at the same meeting, Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Prasad Harichandan told reporters. Hitting out at Modi for his remark on starvation and poverty in Odisha at an election rally in Uttar Pradesh in February, he said that BJP was equally responsible for the state’s poor financial position as the party had shared power with BJD for nine years since 2000.
Modi’s remark has insulted the people of Odisha, Harichandan said adding that BJP should also be held responsible for pushing Odisha towards backwardness. Wondering about Modi’s contribution towards Odisha since he became Prime Minister, the PCC chief said that BJP had announced in 2004 poll manifesto that they would try to secure special category state status for Odisha.
Stating that BJP has forgotten its promise, he demanded that the Prime Minister declare special category state status for Odisha and a special financial package on the pattern of the package given to Bihar.
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The Raghuram Rajan committee had in November 2013 ranked Odisha as the country’s most backward state, Harichandan said and sought to know what the BJP-led NDA Government had done to improve the state’s financial condition after it came to power in 2014.
Slamming the NDA government over Mahanadi river water row between Odisha and Chhattisgarh, the Congress leader said that the Centre failed to stop construction of barrages by BJP regime in Chhattisgarh government on Mahanadi upstream.
The demand for formation of a tribunal to resolve the dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh has also gone unheeded by the Centre, he said.
On the miseries of farmers, Harichandan demanded hike of the minimum support price (MSP) on paddy to Rs 3,000 per quintal from Rs 1,470.