Orissa CM opposes Sibu Soren's greater Jharkhand demand

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Bhubaneswar, Jul 21 (UNI) Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today strongly opposed the reported demand of JMM leader Sibu Soren to merge three districts of Orissa with Jharkhand to form greater Jharkhand state.

Mr Soren had recently proposed the merger of three districts of Orissa - Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar and Sundergarh - with Jharkhand as one of the pre-conditions to extend his party's support to the Congress -led UPA government at the Centre in the Trust vote.

Reacting to Mr Soren's demand, Mr Patnaik said if the UPA Government accepted the demand, it would be construed that the UPA was ''anti-Orissa''.

Orissa, on the other hand, the Chief Minister said, had been demanding the merger of Sareikala and Kharsuan, the two Oriya- dominated areas now in Jharkhand, with Orissa since the formation of the state in 1930s.

UNI BD-DP SJC DB1657

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