BJP, BJD stage rival demonstrations in Odisha

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Bhubaneswar, June 29 (IANS) The ruling Biju Janata Dal on Wednesday staged a demonstration over “central neglect”, while the Odisha unit of the BJP held rival rallies over an attack on two Union ministers last week.

While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) held demonstrations in all blocks protesting the attack on the Union ministers in Bargarh, the leaders of the BJD including ministers staged a dharna in front of Raj Bhavan demanding a hike in the minimum support price (MSP) of paddy.

“With rising cost of inputs like fertilisers, labour and pesticides, the farmers in the state have been losing out in getting their due with respect to their produce. However, the Centre has increased the MSP of paddy by Rs 60 only despite repeated demands to increase it further,” said Agriculture Minister Pradeep Maharathy.

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He said while the Odisha government had recommended MSP at Rs 2,500 per quintal of paddy for the Kharif marketing season 2016-17, the Centre has fixed at Rs 1,470 per quintal for the common variety of paddy.

The ruling party submitted a memorandum to Governor S.C. Jamir addressed to the President of India over the “central neglect”.

Meanwhile, the BJP intensified its agitation against the state government for not acting on the attack on the Union ministers on June 24, in which BJD workers were allegedly involved.

“The BJD leaders attacked the convoy of two Union ministers and pelted stones smashing the windowpanes of their vehicle. It happened in the presence of police. But the government did not take any visible action against the culprits,” said state BJP president Basant Panda.

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BJP national secretary Suresh Pujari said that while the government slapped Section 307 of the IPC for throwing eggs at the Chief Minster’s car, it hesitated to take action against the BJD leaders for the “murderous” attack on the Union ministers.

The BJP has decided to hold demonstrations in the state capital on July 4 over the issue.

Some BJD leaders allegedly attacked the cavalcade of Union Ministers Santosh Gangwar and Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti when they were on their way to attend the BJP’s Bikas Ustav in Bargarh on June 24.

Following the attack, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh asked the Chief Minister to take action against the culprits. However, the government ordered a Revenue Divisional Commissioner (RDC) probe and asked it to submit the report within 60 days.

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