Bhubaneswar: Two days after accusing BJP-led NDA Government at the Centre of discriminating against Odisha, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today asked BJD MPs to play the role of opposition in both the Houses of Parliament and safeguard interest of the state.

“We had a detailed discussion on different issues. The MPs are told to raise issues to benefit the state and its people,” Patnaik told reporters after meeting the party MPs from both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. The ruling BJD has 28 MPs — 20 in Lok Sabha and 8 in Rajya Sabha.

Patnaik, who is also president of the regional outfit (BJD), chaired the party MPs’ meeting on March 5 and called upon for intensifying fight against the Centre. Patnaik has alleged that the Centre ignored Odisha’s interest both in the 14th Finance Commission recommendations and in the 2015-16 General Budget.

“Is it not a discrimination on political line?” Patnaik had asked while criticising the Centre for denying special assistance for Odisha even as it announced package for Bihar and West Bengal in the Budget.

To a question, Patnaik said there is no difference in BJD’s Parliamentary party on opposition to the Centre. “There is no such difference in BJD Parliamentary Party,” he said.

BJD Parliamentary Party leader in Lok Sabha Bhartuhari Mahtab said, “We will play the role of constructive opposition in Parliament. There should be no doubt over the BJD’s role as we are sitting in opposition bench.”
Mahtab said the meeting discussed issues pertaining to Odisha and the role of BJD MPs. “While the Prime Minister claims that Centre has raised the share of states somewhere even upto 62 per cent, this is pure mathematical jugglery. We will place fact based documents in the House,” Mahtab said.

He said though BJP leaders are claiming that Odisha would get above Rs 1 lakh crore from the auction of coal and iron ore mines, the reality is different.
“Odisha is likely to get Rs 500 to Rs 700 crore from coal block auction. Rest Rs 99,500 crore goes to other states and not Odisha,” Mahtab claimed.

The ruling BJD which had been accused of being hand in glove with BJP, made it clear that it stands for the interest of the state. “We will fight for the people of Odisha and this is the lone agenda of the BJD,” said senior BJD MP Prasana Patsani. 

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