After Congress, BJP Decides To Skip Odisha Assembly Speaker’s Election On Sept 21

Bhubaneswar: After Congress’ boycott call, the BJP has also decided not join the Odisha Assembly Speaker election scheduled for September 21, a day after Nuakhai festival.

Speaking at a presser, BJP’s Rengali MLA Nauri Nayak on Friday said that it would not be possible for the MLAs of western Odisha to reach Bhubaneswar to attend the election as the celebration continues till the next day. “Though we had demanded for a change in election date, the government paid no heed to it,” he said.

Nuakhai is an important agrarian festival of western Odisha and it is celebrated with pomp and gaiety in several districts, including Sambalpur, Balangir, Bargarh, Sundargarh, Kalahandi, Deogarh, Jharsuguda, Boudh and Sonepur.

“The state government is being run by non-Odia bureaucrats and they seems to have no knowledge about Nuakhai and western Odisha. It is unfortunate that the BJD leaders from western Odisha also did not raise the issue with the government,” he said.

As per the direction of Leader of Opposition Jayanarayan Mishra and Odisha BJP president Manmohan Samal, the party’s legislators would boycott the poll, he added.

Also Read: Congress MLAs In Odisha To Skip Speaker Election In View Of Nuakhai Festival

On Thursday, Congress Legislature Party leader Narasingha Mishra had told the media that the party’s MLAs will not join the election process on September 21 as the festival is observed for two days across the western region of the state. “Despite protests, the government did not listen to our problem. The Congress MLAs will not be able to attend the Speaker election on that day,” he said.

Narasingha also accused Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik of meting out “step-motherly” treatment to the people of the region.

While declining to comment on the matter as it is under the Department of Parliamentary Affairs, Planning and Convergence Minister Rajendra Dholakia, who hails from western Odisha, rubbished the allegation. “The CM has always given importance to Western Odisha. Be it medical colleges in Kalahandi and Balangir, there are several examples to show that the allegation is not true,” he told PTI.

On Wednesday, state Congress media cell chairman Ganeswar Behera had said that ‘Nuakhai’ will be celebrated on September 20 while ‘Nuakhai Bhetghat’ will be held on September 21. “People across western Odisha celebrate the festival with enthusiasm and fervour and partake the offering after ‘Nabanna’ is offered to Maa Samaleswari. In view of the importance of this popular festival, the state government generally declares holiday for two days every year. However, only one holiday has been declared this year,” he said in a statement.

Notably, the Speaker post has remained vacant since the resignation of Bikram Keshari Arukha on May 12. Deputy Speaker Rajanikant Singh is in charge now.

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