Odisha Political Bureau

There is semantics in the air. With Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik demanding- in his recent meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi – that Odisha to be declared as a ‘focus State’ and provide special grants pending consideration of special category status, the issue has snowballed into a controversy. While Naveen’s demand is backed by the Congress, BJP termed it as another drama of the ruling BJD.

Modi - Naveen

“I welcome the demand made by the CM for special focus State to Odisha which has been ignored by successive Governments at the Centre. The State, being a victim of natural calamities, deserves special attention of the Centre,” said senior Congress leader and former minister Narasingh Mishra.

Narasingha Mishra (Blangir MLA)

It may be recalled that the Odisha Legislative Assembly had unanimously adopted a resolution on 4 April, 2013 requesting the Centre to award ‘special category’ status to the State. It had urged the Centre to provide additional grants and fiscal incentives for the State’s development.

According to Mishra, this was the second time the Assembly adopted a unanimous resolution seeking special category status. The first such resolution was passed on November 18, 1997 and the Congress was a party to that resolution. The BJP, which is opposing the demand now, had supported the motion.


The Congress leader, however, criticised the CM for not raising the issue when he was a Central Minister during NDA regime at the Centre. “Naveen Babu was a minister in the NDA Government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee. When he became Chief Minister, the BJD was a coalition partner of BJP. The CM should clarify as to why he did not raise this demand at that time,” Mishra said.


Admitting that the Congress is equally to be blamed for not fulfilling the demand, Mishra said, “We don’t shy away from our responsibility. We could not convince the UPA Government about the justification of according special status to Odisha.”

indian national congress


On the other hand, the Odisha BJP has dubbed the demand for special focus State status to Odisha as  another ‘drama’ of BJD to draw political mileage. General Secretary of the State BJP Prithviraj Harichandan said the BJD, which is playing politics over special category status for the last five years, has now planned another drama for next five years. Lashing out at the State Government for its inability to utilize Central assistance, Harichandan said Odisha received maximum Central assistance during the previous Modi Government.