Odisha BJP intensifies fight against BJD govt

Eying the upcoming panchayat and urban local body polls in the state, the Odisha unit of BJP has intensified its fight against the Naveen Patnaik-led BJD government.

At a press conference convened here on Tuesday, state BJP President Samir Mohanty announced the launch of a week-long protest across the state from Wednesday against the power tariff hike and poor electricity services. Accordingly, BJP workers will stage protests in front of all electricity offices across the state from Wednesday.

Mohanty said that amid the Covid-19 pandemic, when people are suffering a lot, the BJD government has increased the power tariff. Since April 4, the government has imposed an additional burden on consumers, increasing the tariff by 30 paise per unit, he said.

“When our party MLAs raised the issue in the Assembly, the Energy Minister had assured the House to file a review petition before the Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC). But till now the government has not filed any petition before the OERC,” Mohanty said.

The BJP leader said that power distribution companies are hoodwinking the people of the state by frequent power cuts.

State BJP spokesperson Golak Mohapatra said when power consuming states like Delhi can provide free electricity up to 200 units, why can’t Odisha do the same?

The BJP leaders also demanded the state government to make public the utilisation of Central funds meant for post-cyclone restoration works.

The BJP has nowadays intensified its attack against the state government. The saffron camp first conducted a two-day protest from July 1 at various places of the state alleging irregularities in paddy procurement by the BJD government.

Following this, the party alleged scam to the tune of Rs 1,000 crore in the allotment of PMAY houses and staged protests before all block headquarters for three days from July 7. Now, it has announced this week-long protest.

Though the leaders have cited Covid as the reason behind not conducting any major political programme in the past several months, a local political analyst said that the BJP wants to send out a message that it is the strongest opposition party in the state.

Following the recent Cabinet reshuffle, a message is being circulated that the BJP and the BJD have a close tie-up.

Meanwhile, the Congress is also holding demonstrations against price hike. Therefore, to give a message to its supporters and the public, the BJP has intensified its fight against the Naveen Patnaik government, the political expert said.

Reacting to BJP’s allegations, BJD spokesperson Lenin Mohanty said, “By raising the price hike issue, the BJP President has invited trouble for his own party. People are facing the heat of fuel price hike. The price of essential commodities has also gone up.”

As far as the power tariff hike is concerned, the BJD leader cited that the BJP-ruled Bihar had increased power tariff in March by 35 paise per unit, the same was raised by 64 paise in Uttar Pradesh last year.