| A former army officer greets Naveen Patnaik in Bhubaneswar. Picture by Sanjib Mukherjee |
Bhubaneswar, Jan. 15: The BJD today sought to expand the party’s support base by deciding to set up a cell for the ex-servicemen in the state keeping the coming general elections in view.
BJD president and chief minister Naveen Patnaik today made the announcement at an event held in the party headquarters today to mark the Army Day. About 600 retired defence personnel joined the party on the occasion.
Welcoming them to the party fold, Naveen said their support would strengthen the party organisation and give a boost to workers. He said more and more ex-defence personnel would join the party in the days to come.
He further said that the experience and skill of the ex-defence personnel would be utilised in the process of development and especially during natural calamities.
Finance minister Prasanna Acharya called upon the ex-servicemen to fight against poverty and underdevelopment as they used to fight for protecting the motherland. He assured the ex-defence personnel to resolve their problems on priority basis.
Agriculture minister Debi Prasad Mishra asked the ex-servicemen to be associated with the war being waged by the government against illiteracy, malnutrition and poverty. The party leaders recalled that legendary leader had dreamt of formation of Kalinga Regiment in the Indian Army. The ruling regional outfit, which completed its sixteenth year on December 26, has set a target to reach out to 80 lakh families across the state. In this context, the joining of ex-servicemen in the party is seen as a remarkable step as the number of retired defence officers and personnel comes around 1.5 lakh.
Convenor of BJD ex-servicemen cell Lt General Narayan Mohanty said more and more ex-defence personnel would join the party in the coming days to contribute their might towards the development of the poor and backward districts of the state.
He, in turn, expected that the state government would take sincere steps to resolve their problems.