Bhubaneswar: Two days after observing a state-wide `hartal` alleging negligence of Odisha by the Centre, the ruling BJD today intensified its campaign by launching a signature drive demanding special category status for the state.
The campaign, aimed at collecting more than one crore signatures to press for special category status and more central funds for Odisha, was launched here by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who is also the BJD president.
"Our campaign for special category status for our state has been started. We intend to collect more than one crore signatures and we will send it to the President," Patnaik said kick-starting the state-wide drive.
State ministers, MPs, MLAs and a host of other eminent persons took part in the campaign.
The signature campaign is a fresh move by BJD against the Centre after the union Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on April 18 approved allocation of funds of Rs 250 crore per annum for the Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput (KBK) region of Odisha under the Backward Region Grant Fund (BRGF) in 12th five year plan, while Bihar was given Rs 12,000 crore as a special plan under the BRGF.
Naveen Patnaik had lashed out at the Centre for allocating less fund for the poverty stricken KBK region.
Accusing the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre of discriminating against Odisha, Patnaik had alleged that the Centre was being guided by political considerations while allocating funds for various purposes to Odisha.