Bhubaneswar: A group of SC and ST MLAs belonging to Congress and BJP today resumed its hunger strike in front of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's chamber in the Odisha Assembly premises, demanding 38 per cent quota for Dalit and tribal students in medical and engineering colleges.
"Though the SC/ST MLAs had sat on a similar hunger strike on May 3, they called it off after the assurance from Speaker Niranjan Pujari. But, there has been no progress in this regard," said Bhujabal Majhi, a tribal Congress MLA.
Speaker Pujari, they said, had assured to intervene and get the grievances of SC/ST MLAs addressed by the government within seven days.
"There was no attempt from the government's side to call for a discussion and avoid the proposed strike. It proves that the government has no compassion for the suferring SC/ST people of the state and seems to be committed to protect the ancient practice of discrimination," the SC/ST MLAs said in a memorandum to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
They said Patnaik will be held responsible if any unfortunate incident took place during the hunger strike.
"Though the state government has announced to reserve 38 per cent of seats for SC/ST students in higher education, the quota policy is not implemented in medical and engineering colleges," Prafulla Majhi said.
Some ex-MLAs and ex-MPs also joined the hunger strike which continued for whole day.
SC/ST Minister Lalbihari Himirika tried convincing the agitating MLAs as per the direction of the Speaker, but he remained unsuccessful.