Naveen meets PM, wants special status for Odisha

  • Saubhadra Chatterji, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jun 03, 2014 01:16 IST

As Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik entered South Block on Monday, it was not only his maiden meeting with PM Narendra Modi but also his first exclusive talk with a BJP bigwig after his bitter split with the party in 2009.



But in a signal that the two sides moved smoothly though the discussions, Modi almost readily indicated his willingness to consider one of Odisha's key demand: revision of royalty rates on minerals.



On Tuesday, another potential supporter—Tamil Nadu chief minister and AIADMK chief J Jayalalitha would meet Modi.



The new PM, whose government needs support of non-UPA parties like BJD and AIADMK in Rajya Sabha to pass bills, also said, "I have been saying that India can only grow if its states grow as well."



From Patnaik's side, all 24 BJD MPs were in tow to showcase strength, and signal cooperation. "We will play a constructive role in Parliament with a positive mindset," Patnaik told HT after the meeting.



His trusted lieutenant, Dhenkanal MP Tathagat Satpathy told Modi, "We want both the PM and our CM to shine!"



Modi, as he came in for the meeting, quipped, "So many of you have come here elected. Is there any chair left for me to sit?"



Pinaki Mishra put forward the demand for special category status for Odisha and Baijayant 'Jai' Panda spoke on the need for including additional 5 lakh people in BPL category and Rs 1,400 crore as special assistance for 2015 mega religious festival. The leaders also pitched for a Rs 3,164-crore rail infrastructure package.



When asked if he expects better cooperation from Modi than the UPA government, Patnaik said, "I certainly hope so."

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