Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday said that people of Odisha will give a befitting reply to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) by defeating it in the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections 2019. The Chief Minister made the remark in the light of ‘Special Category Status’ for the state, the demand, he said, the saffron party failed to deliver as per their 2014 Lok Sabha polls manifesto. Also Read - Tejasvi Surya Controversy: Govt Asks Twitter to Remove Bengaluru MP's Tweet Linking Terrorism to Islam

Naveen Patnaik said that the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) supported the BJP in 2014 Lok Sabha elections because the saffron party had promised the state government a ‘Special Category Status’, if they were voted to power. “In the past, we went with BJP in election to fight for ‘Special Category Status’ for Odisha. In 2014 elections, BJP assured the state government that if they come to power in the centre, they will accord special category status to the state,” Naveen Patnaik said. Also Read - Delhi Assembly Elections 2020: BJP MP Gautam Gambhir Casts Vote With Family, Says 'Voting is Not Only Our Right But Our Power'

“After BJP & BJD broke ties in Odisha, present National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government turned a deaf ear to the demand promised in BJP’s 2014 manifesto. People of Odisha will give befitting reply to BJP by defeating them in upcoming polls,” the Chief Minsiter said, while adding, “Special Status is our right and we will continue our fight for it.” Also Read - Delhi Assembly Election 2020: Senior Congress Leader Janardan Dwivedi's Son Joins BJP

The demand for a special category status for Odisha is almost four decades old. It began in 1979 when Nilamani Routray was heading the Janata Party government in Odisha.

Non-Congress parties, mostly Janata Dal and its modified version – the Biju Janata Dal (now ruling the state), continued to make a demand for the special category status for Odisha. The subsequent Central governments, however, have been rejecting Odisha’s demand. According to former state Finance Minister Panchanan Kanungo, Odisha’s demand was partly fulfilled when Atal Vajpayee Vajpyee was the Prime Minister.

The Centre had then provided for special allocation for the poverty prone KBK (Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput) region. Like provision for the SCS states, the Centre was providing funds in the ratio of 90:10 ratio under Centrally Sponsored Schemes for the KBK region. This facility, however, was withdrawn after the fall of the Vajpeyee government, Kanungo said.

Patnaik, during his 18-year tenure as the chief minister of Odisha, has dashed several letters to the prime ministers beginning from Vajpayee till Narendra Modi to accord Special Category Status to Odisha.