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Demand for Koshal State mars Yatra

By Prafulla Das

BOLANGIR, APRIL 13. The Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani's Bharat Uday Yatra today faced huge crowds demanding the creation of a separate Koshal State in the western region of Orissa. The situation took an ugly turn in two Lok Sabha constituencies where thousands of people, standing along the Yatra route, raised slogans in support of the demand for a separate State.

When Mr. Advani was proceeding towards Sambalpur after starting his day's Yatra from Bolangir, a large number of people raised the slogan, `Jai Koshal,' at Salebhata in Loisingha Assembly constituency which comes under the Bolangir Lok Sabha seat. Mr. Advani finished his speech within minutes, while police resorted to a mild lathi-charge to clear the route for his cavalcade.

However, there was no one in the crowd who was opposed to Mr. Advani or his Yatra. But the people appeared firm on their demand. "We want the BJP Government in Delhi and Koshal Rayej (Koshal State) in Orissa," said Ashok Kumar Sahu, a resident of Salebhata. "If there can be development in New Delhi and Bhubaneswar, why can't it happen in western Orissa," he asked.

"I want development of western Orissa and removal of regional imbalance," said the BJP nominee for the Bolangir Lok Sabha constituency, Sangeeta Singh Deo. "The demand for a separate State was limited to a few Assembly segments and will not affect her poll prospects," she told presspersons.

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