BJD says no more issue-based support to NDA govt, to be strong Oppn in Parliament - Hindustan Times
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BJD says no more issue-based support to NDA govt, to be strong Oppn in Parliament

ByDebabrata Mohanty
Jun 24, 2024 06:36 PM IST

The BJD said its MPs this time will not be confined to speaking on issues only but are determined to agitate if the BJP-led government at the Centre ignores Odisha’s interest

The Biju Janata Dal (BJD), which drew a blank in the Lok Sabha polls and lost power to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Odisha assembly polls, has asked its Rajya Sabha MPs to be a “strong and effective Opposition” in Parliament and announced that it would also discontinue giving issue-based support to BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre.

BJD president and former Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik. (File Photo)
BJD president and former Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik. (File Photo)

Chairing a meeting of the BJD parliamentary party at Naveen Niwas in state Capital Bhubaneswar on Monday morning, BJD president and former Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik asked the nine Rajya Sabha MPs of his party to be the “strong voice of the state” in Parliament and raise various important issues pertaining to the development of 4.5 crore people of the state.

After the meeting, BJD MP Sasmit Patra said that the party will emerge as a strong Opposition voice in the Upper House of Parliament and raise issues concerning the interests of Odisha.

“We will emerge as a strong Opposition party under the leadership of Naveen Patnaik in the Rajya Sabha. The people of Odisha will witness how BJD will raise its voice on each of the issues. The BJD MPs this time will not be confined to speaking on issues only but are determined to agitate if the BJP-led government at the Centre ignores Odisha’s interest. Besides raising the demand for special status to Odisha, the BJD MPs will raise the issues of poor mobile connectivity and low density of bank branches in the state. Odisha’s demand for revision of coal royalty has been ignored by the Centre for the last 10 years. This is causing great loss to the people of the state who are deprived of their rightful share,” said Patra.

Asked whether the BJD would maintain its earlier stance of giving issue-based support to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government, Patra said the party would no longer give support to the BJP. “There is no question of supporting the BJP. The BJD president asked us to act as a strong and vibrant opposition if the NDA government continues to ignore the genuine demands of Odisha. We may go to any extent to protect the interests of Odisha,” said Patra.

In the just-concluded Lok Sabha election, BJD drew a blank while BJP won 20 of the 21 Lok Sabha seats in Odisha. The Congress won the Koraput Lok Sabha constituency. Of the 10 Rajya Sabha seats from Odisha, BJD has nine MPs while BJP has one. BJP leader and Union railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw was elected twice from Odisha with BJD’s backing.

BJD has been a strong supporter of the NDA since 2019 Lok Sabha polls, bailing out the Modi government on key Bills such as the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019 (Reorganisation Bill) that ended the statehood of Jammu and Kashmir, dividing the region into Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. The same year, the party supported the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill that makes instant triple talaq a criminal offence and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). In the 2019 monsoon session of Parliament, the Bills proposing changes to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and the Right to Information (RTI) Act also received the support of the BJD. The BJD also voted against the no-confidence motion brought in by a united Opposition last year.

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