Ex-CM Naveen Asks BJD Rajya Sabha MPs To Act As ‘Strong Opposition’

Bhubaneswar: The former Chief Minister of Odisha and Biju Janata Dal Supremo Naveen Patnaik chaired the meeting of the BJD Parliamentary Party in Rajya Sabha at his residence here today.

BJD Rajya Sabha MPs Dr Sasmit Patra, Sulata Deo, Manas Ranjan Mangaraj, Debashish Samantaray, Muna Khan, Sujit Kumar, Subhasis Khuntia, Mamata Mahanta and Niranjan Bishi were present in the meeting held at Naveen Niwas on Monday.

BJD leader Naveen Patnaik convened a meeting with his party’s nine Rajya Sabha MPs, urging them to become a “vibrant and strong” opposition in the Upper House for the forthcoming session starting on June 27. Patnaik also instructed the MPs to appropriately address issues of state interest in the next Parliament session.

After the meeting, Rajya Sabha leader Sasmit Patra stated, “The BJD MPs will not limit themselves to merely discussing issues but are resolved to protest if the central BJP-led government neglects Odisha’s interests.”

The BJD MPs will also highlight the demand for special status for Odisha and address the state’s poor mobile connectivity and the low density of bank branches, he mentioned.

Patra added, “The central government has overlooked Odisha’s request to revise coal royalty for the past decade, significantly harming the people who are missing out on their rightful share.”

He affirmed that the BJD Rajya Sabha MPs would serve as a formidable opposition, and will follow Party Supremo’s directives to fight for the rights of Odisha’s citizens in Parliament.

When queried if the BJD would continue its previous practice of providing issue-based support to the BJP-led government, Patra said, “No more support to BJP, only opposition. We may go to any extent to protect the interests of Odisha.”

Out of the 10 seats in the Rajya Sabha, the BJD holds 9. Apart from supporting the BJP on various issues in Parliament over recent years, the BJD also assisted in the election of Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw to the Rajya Sabha in 2019 and 2024.

In the previous Lok Sabha, there were 12 BJD MPs, 8 from the BJP, and one from Congress. However, in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP won 20 seats while Congress retained one, but the BJD did not win any seats for the first time since its inception in 1997.

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