A resolution was passed to this effect at the party's executive meeting

The ruling Biju Janata Dal, which has been trying hard to strengthen its votebank by blaming the Centre for the backwardness of Orissa on various fronts, on Sunday went one step further and passed a resolution seeking fiscal autonomy for the State to ensure all-round development.

A resolution with regard to this demand of the regional party was passed at its executive meeting held under the chairmanship of Chief Minister and party president Naveen Patnaik. The party also demanded payment of 50 per cent royalty on various minerals being extracted in the State. The Centre was taking maximum benefit of the State's mineral wealth, it alleged. Interestingly, the party passed the resolution for fiscal autonomy for the State and reiterated to strengthen its campaign against the alleged negligence of the State by the Congress-led government at the Centre at a time when cracks appeared in its organisation in several districts.

The BJD has been adopting an anti-Centre stand to cope with the opposition criticism in the wake of the Centre's orders against the industrial projects of Vedanta and POSCO, and the High Court order quashing the notifications for acquisition of land for the proposed Vedanta university.

Membership drive

Addressing the meeting, Mr. Patnaik said the party would launch its membership drive from January 17. The party workers would try to reach out to 80 lakh families in the State during the programme.

The party's constitution was also amended at the meeting by which the party abolished the posts of working president and secretary general. Instead it was decided to increase the number of vice-presidents in the party set-up from five to nine.