Bhubaneswar: Odisha Legislative Assembly Saturday plunged into stalemate condition as both Opposition and Treasury Bench Members trooped down to the Well of the House.
While the Opposition Congress and BJP Lawmakers demanded that the State Government to immediately lift paddy from mandis and the BJD Legislators sought an apology from a BJP Member for attempting to commit suicide in the House on the previous day.
Unable to run the proceedings, Speaker Surjya Narayan Patro adjourned the House twice till the post-lunch session at 4 pm.
As soon as the House was convened for Question Hour
around 10.30 AM, Congress Members led by its Chief Whip Taraprasad Bahinipati rushed to the Well of the House demanding immediate action to ensure that farmers don’t suffer due to the “faulty” policy of the Odisha Government.
BJP Lawmakers also joined them and started raising Anti-Government slogans, as some Congress MLAs attempted to climb onto the Speaker’s Podium but were prevented by the marshals from doing so.
At this point, Treasury Bench Members including the Ministers and Government Chief Whip Pramila Mallick, who were till now demanding an apology from Deogarh Lawmaker Subhas Panigrahi from their respective seats, also trooped to the Well of the House to press their demand.
Treasury Bench Members having strength of 113 in the 147-Member Odisha Legislative Assembly, said they won’t allow the House to functiontill Saffron Lawmaker apologizes for attempting to drink Sanitizer in the House on Friday.
Reacting to this, Mr.Bahinipati said, “This is the first instance of Members of the Council of Ministers creating a ruckus in the well of the House. We will also not allow the Assembly to function till they apologize. Ministers staging agitation in the Well is against the tradition and practice of this August House.”
The Speaker then adjourned the House till 11.30 am. As soon as the House reconvened, the turmoil began again, forcing Mr.Patro to adjourn it till 4 PM.
While agitating against the token system in paddy procurement along with other BJP MLAs Mr.Panigrahi had attempted to end his life in protest against the government’s “failure” to address issues related to paddy procurement.
He was prevented by his party colleagues from drinking sanitizer, while Parliamentary Affairs Minister Bikram Kesari Arukha and Government Chief Whip Pramila Mallick snatched the bottle from him.
Only farmers who get tokens from the Government can sell their paddy in mandis. The BJP Members alleged that the agriculturists do not get tokens on time despite waiting for days at the mandis.
Speaking outside the House, BJP whip Mohan Majhi said, “There is no question of Deogarh Lawmaker tendering an apology. They have the power to suspend the Member. But he has not done anything wrong. He was protesting against the government’s apathy towards farmers.”
Supporting the BJP Members, Congress Chief Whip Mr.Bahinipati said, “We will not demand an apology from Mr.Panigrahi. He attempted to commit suicide because the State Government is not addressing the grievance of the farmers. As the farmers are ready to commit suicide, their people’s representative also made a similar attempt in the House.”
Veteran BJD Lawmaker, Pratap Kesari Deb however, said that the ruling party condemns Mr.Panigrahi’s act as it has brought a bad name to the Assembly and the state.
“The elected Members come to the House to raise people’s issues and not to set a bad trend,” Mr.Deb rued.