New Delhi: The winter session of Parliament concluded Friday with some hopes for the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in respect of its main agenda of formation of Legislative Council in the state.
During the session, the senior MPs of BJD had had a meeting with the Union Home Minister where they sought Centre’s support in formation of an upper house in the state, revision of coal royalty and other issues. The party MPs said the Union Home Minister has given them assurance that steps will be taken for formation of Legislative Council in the state in coming months.
Before the commencement of the Winter Session, the BJD had decided to push for Union government’s support for establishment of Legislative Council in the state.
The party MPs in both the Houses raised the prime issues of the state in their speeches during zero hour, special mentioning or while speaking on Bills. The members sought Centre’s response over environment clearance to Polavaram project and urged the government to ban it as it will submerge large tracts of land in the state. Demands have also been raised for enhancement of banking and telecommunication services in the state and also for expansion of national highways.
MPs from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress also raised state specific issues in both houses. The state MPs posed a total of 378 starred and unstarred questions in the Parliament. While 226 questions were raised in Lok Sabha, 152 questions were raised in the Upper House seeking the Centre’s response to issues on better infrastructure projects and tourism development in the state.
Significantly, the BJD supported all 15 Bills passed by the Rajya Sabha during its 250th session.
The party also faced criticism for supporting the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) 2019, which seeks to grant citizenship to the non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
However, the BJD didn’t push for special focus tag rigorously during this session. The special focus tag for Odisha and 33 per cent reservation for women in Legislature were sidelined in the current session as the MPs raised these issues on very few occasions.
Pertinently, BJD Parliamentary Party leader in the Upper House Prasanna Acharya applauded the performance of state MPs in Parliament and said party MPs in both the houses took maximum advantage of the session and didn’t lose any opportunity to raise the issues of the state.
Rejecting the criticism for supporting CAB, Acharya said, “Ours’ is a secular party and our leader is a secular leader. We are inheriting the legacy of late leader Biju Patnaik. He is known for his policy of secularism all over the country. So, we have not deviated from our principle. We still believe in secularism.”