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Logjam Continues In Assembly

Bhubaneswar: Logjam continued to prevail in the Odisha Legislative Assembly for the sixth consecutive day as both opposition and ruling party members created a ruckus in the House forcing the Speaker to adjourn proceedings for three times on Tuesday.

As soon as the House assembled for the day at 10.30 AM, opposition BJP and Congress members rushed to the well holding placards and banners. They sought slogans retreating their demand for removal of Minister of State (MoS) for Home, Dibya Shankar Mishra over Mamita Meher murder case.

Wearing black gamucha, BJP members beat gongs and bells in a mark of protest.  Congress legislators showed placards demanding removal of Mishra from the council of ministers.

The Treasury Bench members also joined the bandwagon as they sprinkled ‘Ganga Jal’ on the opposition members seeking good sense to prevail upon them and come for the discussion after shunning their egos. This is for the first time that the treasury bench members agitated in the Well of the House.

As the gong sound and slogans rented the air in the House, Speaker Surjya Narayan Patro adjourned the proceeding till 4 PM after his repeated appeal to members including the BJD members, to return to their seats failed.

The situation also remained the same in the post-lunch session as the opposition MLAs continued their protest inside the Assembly hall. Adjourning the proceedings for 30 minutes, Speaker called an all party meeting. However, the meeting failed again.

Amid uproar by the BJP and Congress members, the Speaker allowed Culture Minister Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi to move a resolution in the House to urge the Centre to declare Paika Bidroh as the first war of independence. The House also passed the resolution.

Congress had brought adjournment motion notice in the Assembly today for a discussion over the sensational Mamita murder case to which Parliamentary Affairs Minister Bikram Keshari Arukh was supposed to reply.  

Following the adjournment, members of all the three parties continued such protests outside the hall and inside the Assembly premises too.

The BJP MLAs seen performing puja to Lord Jagannath, Congress members staged protest holding the placards. The ruling BJD legislators, holding banners, staged dharna before the Mahatma Gandhi statue.

“Naveen Patnaik is in deep slumber like Kumbhkaran. The number of Dhritarashtras and Duryodhans in Odisha is rising. The CM has turned deaf ears to all that is happening around him, that’s why we are beating gongs to wake him up,” BJP deputy leader in Assembly, Bishu Charan Sethi told reporters outside the House.  

“The same person had sacked several ministers in the past for very small mistakes. What happened today?” he asked.

Alleging the Chief Minister is not giving priority to the Assembly, Mr.Sethi said, “The Chief Minister is going to Kalinga Stadium to attend hockey programs through the road passing in front of the Assembly and not coming here. Why do you avoid Assembly? Are you involved in the case (Kalahandi).”

Senior Congress member Taraprasad Bahinipati, who had sprinkled ‘ganga jal and cow urine’ inside the Assembly hall on December 4 in a bid to ‘purify’ it, alleged that the ruling BJD is creating uproar in the House.

“It is the responsibility of the Chief Minister, who is leader of the House, to ensure smooth functioning of the Assembly. However, it is shameful that the ruling party members are disturbing the House,” Mr.Bahinipati said.  

On the other hand, BJD lawmaker Pratap Kesari Deb alleged that the opposition parties are doing drama for their political gain eying upcoming panchayat and urban polls.

“In one hand you (opposition) are giving adjournment motion and on the other hand, you are not ready to discuss the issue. We condemn such acts of opposition members,” Mr.Deb said.

People have elected the members to the Assembly to discuss several issues including price hike, fertilizer shortage, farmers facing problems due to recent heavy rainfall. However, opposition members don’t want the House to run and discuss these issues, he said.

“That why we have sprinkled gangal jal on the opposition members praying that good sense prevail among them,” the BJD leader said.

The Odisha Legislative Assembly has been witnessing uproar and disturbance since the beginning of winter session on December 1 over the lady teacher Mamita Meher murder case. Even though the Chief Minister had assured the House that his government is committed to give justice to the victim, the opposition continued their protest demanding removal of Minister Mr.Mishra.