BJD MPs to attend President’s address in Parliament

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Bhubaneswar: The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) on Thursday said its MPs will attend the Presidents address to the joint sitting of both houses of Parliament, which commences its budget session on January 29.

Ruling-BJDs decision to attend the presidents address is being seen as a departure of the stand taken by the 16 opposition parties, including the Congress and TMC, which had decided not to attend it in solidarity with the farmers protesting against the farm legislations.

President Ram Nath Kovind will address the joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament on January 29.

BJD will attend the presidents address and raise all issues in both houses of Parliament, BJD Rajya Sabha MP and its chief whip Sasmit Patra told.

The regional party, which is headed by Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, has 12 MPs in Lok Sabha and nine members in the Rajya Sabha.

BJDs decision to keep away from the opposition parties with regard to the boycott the presidents address to protest against the farm laws could be due to its earlier stand to maintain equal distance from both BJP and the Congress, party insiders said.

The BJD had, however, compromised its policy after forming the new government in 2019 when it supported a BJP candidate in a Rajya Sabha poll.

But keeping in view the recent change of political equation with BJP, its former ally, the regional party may take a tough stand against the central government.

The BJD MPs will take up several issues in both houses of Parliament, which may not be in favour of BJP and the central government, they said.

BJD will demand more funds for railways, telecom infrastructure development, financial inclusion of banks and special category status for Odisha among others, they said.

The BJP which claims to be the principal opposition in Odisha, has put the state government in trouble in several issues.

“Therefore one may expect a change in BJDs stand in Parliament though the party has decided to attend the presidential address to the joint session”, another party insider said.

Not joining hands with the Congress or other opposition parties in Parliament could be a strategy by BJD to give a message that it was neither with the opposition nor the government, but is an independent force, he added.

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