BJD rallies against diesel hike, LPG Gas

The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) staged demonstrations across the state on Monday, protesting against hike in diesel price and restriction on number of subsidized cooking gas cylinders. Chief minister Naveen Patnaik said the protest was peaceful. “Our party BJD is conducting a peaceful agitation against the steep hike in diesel price and all the problems related to cooking gas,” Naveen told reporters here.

In Bhubaneswar, around 3,000 party workers of the Naveen-led party marched to the additional district magistrate office amid sloganeering against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. “We are seeking a complete roll back of the hike, which has a cascading effect on prices of essential commodities. Our party workers staged similar demonstrations in all the district headquarters and prominent towns,” said BJD leader Sanjay Dasburma.

 Reports of similar rallies and dharnas were reported from Cuttack, Sambalpur, Koraput, Berhampur, Rourkela and Balangir among other towns. At some places, BJD workers burnt the effigy of the PM and Sonia.

Reacting to the regional party’s demonstration, state Congress president Niranjan Patnaik said the hike was necessary in the larger financial interest of the country. “If the various state governments are genuinely interested in reducing the burden on the common man, they should slash sales tax and road tax, which will reduce the diesel price substantially,” Patnaik said.

The BJD has distanced itself from the non-UPA parties’ September 20 Bharat bandh against price hike and FDI in retail in view of the Nuakhai festival in western Odisha. The BJP too said on Monday their bandh will not affect the agrarian festival. “We will observe the Bharat bandh. However, activities relating to the prominent festival of Nuakhai besides essential services will not be affected by the bandh in any way,” said BJP state president Jual Oram.

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