"Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik will hold discussion with the representatives of Central Action Committee (CAC) of lawyers on August 24 at the secretariat. We hope the discussion will bring normalcy in western Odisha," Law Minister Maheswar Mohanty told the state assembly.

Mohanty said the state government has invited the agitating lawyers after the State Election Commission (SEC) gave green signal in this regard. The government had sought permission from the SEC as model code of conduct is in force for the September 19 urban bodies polls.

"We have allowed the state government to hold discussion with the agitating lawyers on condition that the exercise would not violate the provisions of the model code of conduct," State Election Commissioner Ajit Tripathy told reporters here.

Meanwhile, the candidates are finding themselves unable to file their nomination papers in the municipal corporation elections several districts including Sundergarh due to lawyers’ strike. The elections will be held on September 19, while the last date for filing nomination papers is August 24. The state government this year increased seats reserved for women from 33 percent to 50 percent for the urban elections.

Commenting on the lawyers’ strike, Nationalist Youth Congress general secretary Rajkumar Yadav demanded Chief Minister’s resignation for failure to find an amicable solution to the crisis. Yadav said, “The state government is doing nothing to end the lawyers’ strike in eight western districts including Sundergarh.”

JPN/Agencies

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