Odisha Congress leaders meet Rahul, discuss organisational issues
New Delhi: Amid speculation that changes were likely in state Congress ranks, party leaders from Odisha including Union Minister Srikant Jena on Saturday met Rahul Gandhi in the national capital.
In an hour-long meeting with state Congress leaders, Rahul spoke on "organisational issues" and yesterday`s strike in the state by ruling BJD, which is seeking special category status for Odisha.
"We discussed the issues related to party-organisation. The hartal sponsored by BJD in the state yesterday also came up for discussion," Jena told reporters after the meeting.
The party leaders, who accompanied Jena in the meeting, included former PCC chief Jaydev Jena, party MP Bhakta Charan Das and senior leader Lulu Mohapatra.
Meanwhile, PCC chief Niranjan Patnaik, who led a delegation of state leaders, called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to seek a special financial package for the state.
Expressing concern over the "massive misuse" of central funds in Odisha, the delegation sought a high-level enquiry into the irregularities.
The delegation had met Finance Minister P Chidambaram in this regard on Friday.
"The Prime Minister said that there is no discrimination whatsoever with Odisha as is being claimed by the state government and under the revised guidelines of backwardness, the state would get its due share," Patnaik told reporters.
The delegation that met the Prime Minister comprised
Leader of Opposition in Odisha Assembly Bhupinder Singh, senior party leaders Prasad Harichandan among others.
Patnaik had also submitted a memorandum to President Pranab Mukherjee during the latter`s visit to Odisha on Wednesday.
"Our people have waited patiently for long, but by now 22 of Odisha`s 30 districts have become affected by acute Maoist violence, which is largely caused by development and governance deficits," the memorandum, submitted to the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister, says.
The memorandum also noted that Odisha`s per capita plan outlay is much less than that of developed states like Karnataka, Gujarat, Punjab, Maharashtra and stressed on the need to increase the Plan size significantly.
"In these circumstances, special financial dispensation for addressing Odisha`s backwardness becomes imperative. A substantial financial package on the lines allocated recently by the Central Government for Bihar and Bundelkhand region needs to be replicated for Odisha also," the memorandum says.
The CAG has repeatedly castigated the Odisha government for misuse of central funds, it pointed out.
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