Putting all the speculations to rest, former bureaucrat and 5T chairman V.K Pandian on Friday said that he will not contest the assembly elections scheduled for 2024 in Odisha.
Pandian cleared his stand while addressing the party leaders at the Biju Janata Dal’s state executive body meeting at Sankha Bhawan, BJD party office, here Friday.
“Pandian has clarified that he will serve the state as per the instructions of the Chief Minister. He said he will not contest the assembly elections. Though there is no bar on him contesting the elections,” BJD leader Debi Prasad Mishra said during a press conference.
Mishra said that the Congress and BJP are engaged in spreading rumours on various subjects.
He said as many as 32 proposals including 16 vote of thanks proposals were presented and passed following discussions at the party’s executive body meeting here Friday.
The BJD state executive thanked people of Odisha and CM Patnaik for the consecutive wins in various elections to the state assembly, Lok Sabha, Panchayats, municipalities and the by-elections during the more than two decades since 2000.
CM Patnaik was thanked for the steps taken for the propagation of Jagannath culture and consciousness, successful implementation of Shree Jagannath Corridor project, preservation and restoration of different religious and heritage places such as Shree Lingaraj, Maa Samalei and Tara Tarini temples.
Similarly, the party leaders held discussions on vote of thanks proposals over flagship programmes like Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojna, various food and social security schemes, rapid industrialisation, and development of sports infrastructure, IT sector, and improvement in irrigation system and various other achievements.
The party has also decided to hold training programmes for its Panchayat and zonal level workers at the Sankha Bhavan, party headquarters in view of the general elections scheduled to be held next year.
Mishra said panchayat level meetings will be held after the celebration of the party’s foundation day. Meanwhile, a campaign will also be launched at Panchayat level from Netaji Jayanti on January 23 to Biju Jayanti on March 5, 2024 to highlight the achievements of the BJD government and its development agenda.
Accusing the central government of showing a step motherly attitude towards the state, Mishra said the party has decided to continue to raise its demand for special category status for the state, hike in the coal royalty, cess clearance, waiver of GST on the kendu leaves.
“The party will raise the issue of rise in price of essential commodities and demand to expedite the developmental work of National Highway and Railway sectors,” he said.
He also accused that the state has been fighting legal battles over the Mahanadi and Polavaram projects due to the indifference of the central government towards the interests of Odisha.
Addressing the gathering, CM Patnaik said that the opposition has no issues and are shocked due to the transformation of the state. He urged the party workers to counter the opposition at the grass root level as well as on social media.