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Winter Session With Stormy Start

Bhubaneswar: The Winter Session of State Legislative Assembly began on a stormy note on Wednesday as opposition Congress legislators staged a dharna before two entry points and locked another gate of the House over Mamita Meher murder case.

Opposition Congress members carrying placards today locked the Assembly gates and sat on dharna in front of the entry gates of the Assembly demanding the sacking and arrest of the Minister of State for Home Dibya Shankar Mishra for his alleged involvement in the Mamita Meher murder case.

Much before the House started business, the Congress members today locked one of the three entry gates of the house and sat on dharna in front of two other gates in support of their demand. Senior members including Suresh Routray, Taraprasad Bahinipati, Santosh Singh Saluja, Mohammed Moquim participated in the protest. Later, employees of the Assembly broke the lock and opened the gate.

However, there was no disturbance in the entry of other ministers and members. The agitating MLAs later withdrew the dharna and participated in the House proceedings.

“We are staging dharana to ensure that the minister, who is involved in the Mamita Meher murder case, should not enter into the sacred House. We will not allow the tainted minister to impure the sanctity of the sacred House,” Bahinipati said.

Similarly, the BJP members met Speaker Surjya Narayan Parto and urged him not to allow the minister to the House.

On the other hand, the ruling BJD members marched to Raj Bhawan on a rally alleging step motherly attitude by Centre towards Odisha on implementation of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY). The members also submitted a memorandum to the Governor in this regard.  

“On the basis of a baseless and false complaint filed by BJP MPs, the rural development ministry has stopped the PMAY scheme in some districts of Odisha. It is yet to sanction 15 lakh housing unit, while funds are being sanctioned to the BJP ruled states. So we are strongly protesting it,” said BJD Lawmaker Byomkesh Ray.  

Meanwhile, the Orissa High Court in response to a request by the State Government has nominated former district Judge A B S Naidu to monitor the investigation into the murder of Mamita Meher

The House proceedings started at sharp 11 AM with strict adherence to Covid-19 protocols. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik attended the first day of the session through videoconference from his residence ‘Naveen Niwas’ here, while two members participated while sitting in conference halls of the State Secretariat and another from the district headquarter.

Leader of Opposition (BJP) Pradeep Kumar Naik, who had attended the House from the AIIMS here during last session, has not participated on the proceedings on the first day. He is still under treatment. 

Moving the obituary reference through video conference from Naveen Niwas Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik expressed his profound grief over the death of former Assembly Deputy Speaker Prahalad Dora, former members Umesh Chandra Swain and Ram Ray Munda, former Sepoy Sitaram Murmu and all Covid warriors who have laid down their lives for the service of the people.

Mr.Patnaik said the sad demise of the members, the security personnel and the covid warriors is a great loss to the state and their family members. He requested Speaker Mr. Patro to convey the sympathies of the House to the bereaved family members.

The State Legislative Assembly joined the leader of the house to condole the demise of former members, security personnel and Covid warriors who passed away during the intervening period of the last assembly session and the present winter session.

Opposition BJP Deputy Leader Bishnu Charan Sethi, Congress Legislature Party leader Narasingha Mishra and Speaker S N Patro supported the obituary reference moved by the Chief Minister, condoled the deaths and expressed their sympathies to the bereaved family members.

The House later observed one-minute silence as a mark of respect to the departed souls and prayed for their salvation. After the obituary reference, the Assembly was adjourned till 5 PM.

Finance Minister Niranjan Pujari will present the first supplementary statement of expenditure for 2021-22 in the evening today. The session will continue till December 31. The session will have a total of 26 working days including five private members days.