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Arukha New Speaker OLA

Bhubaneswar: A six-time BJD MLA and former Minister Bikram Keshari Arukha on Monday elected as new Speaker of the Odisha Legislative Assembly.

Arukha was elected to the post unanimously in a special session held in the Assembly. Members from Opposition parties BJP and Congress too supported his candidature for the prestigious seat.

Chief Minister and Leader of the House, Naveen Patnaik proposed his name before the Assembly for the post, which was supported by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Niranjan Pujari. Following adoption of the motion, Deputy Speaker Rajanikant Singh, elected Arukha as new Speaker on a voice of votes.   

After Arukha’s name was announced as new Speaker by Deputy Speaker Rajanikanta Singh, he was escorted to the Speaker’s podium by the Chief Minister, Congress Legislature Party leader Narasingha Mishra, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Niranjan Pujari, Government Chief Whip, Deputy Chief Whip, Congress member Taraprasad Bahinipati, Minister Pramila Mallick and Pradip Amat.

Congratulating the new Speaker of the august House, Chief Minister appealed to all members to extend wholehearted support to him to discharge his duties.

Stating chair of the Speaker is supposed to be impartial, opposition chief whip Mohan Majhi said, “On behalf of members of my party, I congratulate you and we hope that you will give us all equal opportunity in participating and putting forth our views on the floor of the House on the basis of your long-standing Parliamentary experience gathered since 1995.”

Similarly, Congress Legislature Party leader Narasingha Mishra congratulated the new Speaker and said, “There was a tradition that the member resigns from the party after electing as Speaker. All parties have now stopped following the tradition. The same is reflected in the Odisha Assembly too.”

He requested the new Speaker, who is having vast experience and successfully discharged duties on various positions including the Parliamentary Affairs Minister, to listen to all members irrespective of their party.

The Congress leader further said that the ruling party should have consulted the Opposition parties before proposing a name for the Speaker post. “The opposition party has not filed nomination for the election and supported the CM. However, if the Opposition parties would be taken into confidence before proposing a name for the Speaker post, it will create a healthy tradition in the democracy,” he said.

The 60-year-old Arukha was elected six times from Bhanjanagar assembly constituency in Ganjam district in a row since 1995.

The post of the speaker was lying vacant after Surya Narayan Patro, also from Ganjam district, resigned from the post on June 4 due to his health problems.

Arukha is the sixth MLA from Ganjam district to be elected for the prestigious post and second man from his own constituency – Bhanjanagar.

Before SN Patro, Chintamani Dyan Samantra of the district was the Speaker in the eleventh Assembly. Dyan Samantara, who had been elected as an Independent MLA in 1995 from Chikiti assembly constituency, had served as the speaker from February 16, 1996 to March 10, 2000.

Similarly, Somanath Rath, who had been elected as the MLA from Bhanjanagar segment in Congress ticket in 1980, served as the speaker of eighth Assembly from June 12, 1980 to February 11, 1984.

Lingaraj Panigrahi (July 1, 1961 to March 18, 1967) and Lal Mohan Patnaik (May 29, 1946 to March 6, 1952) from Ganjam district also served as Speaker of the House.  Besides, Rama Chandra Panda, was elected as the Deputy Speaker from March 27, 2000 to February 6, 2004.