Bhubaneswar, Jan 25 (PTI) The Biju Janata Dal on Monday decided to raise a host of issues, including reservation for women in Lok Sabha and all state legislative assemblies,during the budget session of Parliament starting from January 29.
The BJD Parliamentary Party meeting held under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik here, listed a series of matters concerning Odisha which need to be highlighted during Parliament session.
The MPs from both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha attended the meeting here.
The Odisha-centric outfit which has 12 MPs in Lok Sabha and 9 members in Rajya Sabha, resolved to raise chief minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaiks favourite subject like women empowerment in Parliament.
The party on its foundation day on December 26 last year had announced that the BJD would continue to demand 33 per cent reservation of seats in Lok Sabha and assemblies across the country for women.
'The chief minister has directed all the MPs to raise issues concerning women empowerment and also the problems linked to Odishas interest,' Rajya Sabha MP and party spokesperson Sasmit Patra told reporters after the meeting.
He said the BJDs key issues also include demand for hike in minimum support price of foodgrains particularly paddy which is now fixed at Rs 1868 per quintal.
The party has decided to demand a raise in the MSP based on the recommendations of M S Swaminathan Committee, Patra said.
The BJDs decision to raise the MSP in the Parliament is also politically significant as the opposition BJP has already launched an agitation in Odisha highlighting mismanagement in the ongoing paddy procurement during the kharif marketing season.
This apart, the ruling party also resolved that its MPs will also highlight as how Odisha has been neglected in terms of railway infrastructure development in the state.
Though Indian Railways generate around Rs 15,000 crore per annum from the state, it did not spend significantly for the completion of projects and not taking up new projects.
The BJD MPs will draw attention of the Centre towards this issue also, Patra said.
The BJD, which came to power in 2000 by giving a call to fight for the interest of Odisha alone, will this time also make demand for granting special category status to the state, as the coastal state is vulnerable to the natural calamities.
This apart, the state Assembly, which has already passed a resolution seeking creation of a Bidhan Parishad (Legislative Council) in the state, is pending for the central nod.
The BJD MPs will put pressure on the Centre to give its assent to form a legislative council in the state, he said.
In addition, the party MPs will also stress on the early completion of the proposed Rs 7,500 crore Coastal Highway project stretching from Gopalpur in Odisha to Digha in West Bengal.
Though the project was approved a long back, the centre has delayed its implementation, he said.
The coastal high once completed will provide a facelift to infrastructure and economic activities in the region.
The BJD MPs, sources said, may take a tough stand against the BJP-led NDA government this time keeping in view the changed equation between the two parties at the ground level in Odisha. PTI AAM SNS SNS