Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Mar 10:
The much anticipated showdown between Congress leaders led by Union Minister Srikant Jena and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, scheduled at the Naveen Nivas, ended in a whimper today as the BJD boss refused to respond to the challenge thrown by Jena for an open debate on some major issues.
Instead of the confrontation at Naveen Niwas, the Congress staged a dharna in front of Raj Bhavan to protest Naveen’s refusal. PCC president Jaydev Jena, Union Minister Srikant Jena and some party workers are participating in the dharna.
In a letter to Patnaik on Saturday, Jena had said he would land in Naveen Niwas, along with PCC chief Jayadev Jena and some other Congress leaders, this morning to seek an appointment with the Chief Minister for the proposed debate on three issues: the mining scam, central assistance to Odisha and the chit fund scam.
“We had asked the chief minister for an appointment to invite him to discuss the issues of central assistance and performance of the state government during the last 14 years in an open debate. But, the chief minister did not give us appointment forcing us to hold the dharna,” Jaydev Jena told media persons at the dharna venue.
In their letter to Patnaik, the Jenas had said the people of Odisha deserve to know why Odisha is one of the poorest state in the country and migration of unemployed youth is taking place to neighbouring states.
“You will appreciate that in a healthy democracy, the essence of debate is critical. It is more so important during the time of elections to bring the facts to the public. It will also provide the opportunity to you to bring forth any contribution made by BJD for the development of Odisha and its people,” the two Jenas had said in a joint letter to the Chief Minister.