The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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BJP joins Nalco selloff protest

Bhubaneswar, Sept. 17: The BJP’s Orissa unit today joined the chorus against privatisation of the National Aluminium Company (Nalco), but stepped back from supporting Thursday’s dawn-to-dusk state bandh, called by the ruling Biju Janata Dal among others.

The BJP was the only party to have refrained from taking a stand on the Nalco privatisation, which has snowballed into a major political issue.

Calling Nalco’s privatisation a “sentimental issue”, Orissa revenue minister and senior BJP leader Biswabhusan Harichandan said he and other leaders of the state unit would take up the matter with the party’s national leaders. “The BJP respects the sentiment of the people of Orissa. We would never betray the people,” he said, opposing Nalco’s privatisation but supporting the Centre’s disinvestment policy in general.

However, he said Thursday’s bandh would not solve the issue. “It’s unfortunate the way it is being presented before the people,” he added.

The Congress, on the other hand, will support the bandh but not join the demonstrations.

Instead of calling a bandh, the BJD leaders could have discussed the matter with the Centre and spoken at the coordination committee meeting of the two parties, the BJP said.

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