The Opposition in Odisha seems all set to make life difficult for the BJD government during the winter session of the Assembly beginning on Wednesday. The session will continue till December 31.
The issues likely to figure prominently in the House include Kalahandi teacher Mamita Meher murder case and chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s alleged inaction against minister of state for home Dibya Shankar Mishra who allegedly tried to shield the main accused who has since been arrested.
The Meher case will come in handy for the BJP-led Opposition to highlight growing lawlessness in the state and the government’s failure to provide security to women.
BJP chief whip Mohan Majhi said that Meher issue was discussed in detail at the BJP legislature party meeting on Tuesday and the party as decided to take it up in a big way.
“The general collapse of law and order in the state, irregularities in the purchase of paddy in the mandis and the fraud being perpetrated on the people in the name of Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY) health cards are some other issues that the party is planning to take up during the session,” said Majhi.
Most of these issues assume importance in the context of the upcoming panchayat elections which will be a major test of popularity for state’s mainline political parties ahead of the next general elections. The issue of Western Odisha Development Council’s (WODC) failure to address the concerns of the people of the area will also be in the limelight during the elections. The BJP is keen to make the most of the issue.
As far as Meher case is concerned it has become an embarrassment for the government with both the BJP and the Congress upping the ante. However, aware of its likely repercussions for the party in the panchayat polls, especially in western Odisha, the region that Mishra hails from, the government has been steadfastly backing the minister so far. The chief minister even shared the dais with him during his recent visit to Kalahandi, sending out a strong message that Mishra remains innocent as long as not proved guilty.
The ruling BJD, on the other hand, will try to put the BJP on the mat over issues such as Narendra Modi government’s failure to meet the demands of the farmers to hike the minimum support price (MSP) of farm produce even though it has finally conceded their demand for the repeal of the three controversial farm laws. It will also take up the issue of price rise. Odisha also has other outstanding issues with the Centre such as latter’s failure to lift adequate rice from the state. The ruling party will try to neutralise the opposition by raising these issues.