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Assembly Monsoon Session Begins

Bhubaneswar: The monsoon session of Odisha Legislative Assembly (OLA) began on Saturday at 11 AM with adhering to the Covid-19 protocols.

The members are seated in different locations including the second floor conference hall of Lok Seva Bhawan and OCAC Conference Hall. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik attended the House proceedings through video conferencing from his residential office Naveen Niwas.

Leader of opposition Pradipta Kumar Naik, who has been undergoing treatment for post-Covid complications, has not joined the session.

The House paid tribute to former MLA Late Surendra Nath Kanhar and expressed condolences to his family. Following which, Question Hour was conducted smoothly.

However, other businesses of the pre-launch session of the first day of the session were washed away as Opposition Congress and BJP created uproar in the House over Nupur Sharma issue. The House adjourned twice for 10 minutes each and then, till 4 pm.   

Congress Legislature Party leader Narasingha Mishra during the Zero Hour pointed out about Supreme Court’s Scathing Criticism to Nupur Sharma, who is a BJP agent. The criticism of Ms.Sharma is equal to criticism of the BJP government at Centre. Therefore, the BJP government should step down, demanded Mr.Mishra.

Quickly responding to Mr.Mishra, BJPLP Deputy Leader Bishnu Sethi said the Congress government at Rajasthan has not resigned following murder of a tailor. And, Nupur Sharma is not a member of the House, so, this issue should not be raised in the Assembly, Mr.Sethi demanded.

The BJP has already suspended Ms.Sharma, who indirectly sought apology from people, he mentioned.

With this, members from both BJP and Congress stood up from their seats and created a noisy scene on the floor. Speaker BK Arukha said that this issue should not be talked on the floor as Ms.Sharma is not a member of the House.

The Opposition party members went to the well of the House and staged a protest before the Speaker’s podium. Unable to run the House, the Speaker adjourned the proceedings thrice including the last one till 4 PM.  

Notably, over her remarks on the Prophet, the Supreme Court on Friday came down heavily on suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma, saying she has a “loose tongue” and is “single-handedly responsible for what is happening in the country” including in Udaipur where a tailor was hacked to death this week for allegedly sharing her remarks.

Finance Minister Niranjan Pujari will present the fullfledged budget for financial year 2023-23 in the afternoon.

The state government had presented a budget of Rs 2 lakh crore and got approval of the House through vote-on-account to make expenditure upto Rs 1.06 lakh crore for the first four months (April to July) of the financial year 2022-23.

As per schedule, the monsoon session will have 24 business days. The Appropriation Bill will be tabled on July 29. The House will remain closed from July 7 to 12. Second phase of the session would start from July 13 and continue till August 4.