New Delhi, June 12: Nearly 30,000 people from Odisha led by BJD president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik gathered at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi Wednesday to protest against the centre's apathy towards the state's demand for the special category status.
"Around 30,000 people are attending the Swabhiman Samavesh rally at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi," Vinod Dhawan, a protester told IANS.
"It has been a very long standing demand of Odisha for special category status. The state satisfies the existing criteria for special status," Biju Janata Dal leader and Lok Sabha MP Jay Panda told a news channel here.
"Some states are getting special category benefits who have three times the per capita income of Odisha, and twice of what the national average is," he added.
The chief minister has been pressing for the special category status to Odisha, citing the state as one of the poorest in the country. He has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh many times in this regard.
According to Patnaik, Odisha satisfies most of the criteria for special status, except that it does not have an international boundary.