12-hr Cong hartal affects normal life in Odisha


BJD moves SEC against Cong alleging poll breach

Bhubaneswar: Normal
life was paralyzed in most parts of the State except capital city here as the
Congress observed its State wide dawn-to-dusk hartal on Tuesday demanding the
resignation of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for his alleged involvement in the
mining scam in the wake of the Justice MB Shah Commission report indicting his
PCC president Jayadev Jena along with other senior leaders
sat on a token dharna at the PMG square here to press their demands. “We will
expose the Chief Minister, who always claims to be clean. Now, the Shah
Commission has indicted him in the mining scam and he has no right to continue
in the office even for a day. He should immediately resign and face the
arrest,” said Jena.
However, the party exempted the Bhubaneswar
from the hartal keeping in view the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) polls
scheduled on Wednesday.  
While party leaders claimed that the hartal passed off peacefully
and nobody was forced to participate in it, commuters were the worst hit by the
hartal as buses and trains have stopped plying across the State. Party workers
stopped the movement of trains picketing in the stations at various parts of
the State. Railway stations are choc a bloc with passengers as several long
distance trains have been stranded.
On the other hand, ruling BJD called on the State Election
Commissioner (SEC) Ajit Kumar Tripathy and submitted a petition against the
Congress for violating the model code which is in force for the BMC polls.
Alleging that the Congress was holding the hartal out of
frustration, a six member team of BJD MLAs led by Anant Das met the SEC and
apprised him about their grievances.
“The Congress has defied the model code of conduct by
campaigning in public under the pretext of ‘hartal.’ They have picketed at
various places in the city and displayed party flags. They have raised slogans
in favour of their party and against BJD as well as Chief Minister Naveen
Patnaik. This is simply unacceptable,” said Das.
“The Congress has lost every election in the last months,
including the recently concluded ULB polls. The hartal is nothing but an
example of their frustration,” said Revenue Minister Surjya Narayan Patro.
However, the main gates of the State Secretariat were locked
apprehending trouble. Ministers and other officials entered the building
through its back gate.
Attendance was thin at Government offices as the Congress
workers picketed in front of Government offices and did not allow the employees
to enter their offices.
Similar reports were received from places like Cuttack,
Brahmapur, Sambalpur, Baleswar, Baripada, Puri, Bhadrak and Rourkela,
said a senior Congress leader.
“The hartal is necessary as it will make people of the State
aware of the colossal loot of minerals during the BJD Government,” added
another leader.

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