BJD Ministers, Oppn Members In ‘Well’ Over Their Apology Demands; Stall House Proceedings
Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Assembly was adjourned following a ruckus over the distress sale of paddy by the farmers due to the largescale irregularities in the mandis (procurement centres).
As soon as the question-hour session began, the opposition Congress and BJP members rushed to the well of the House and demanded that the question hour be cancelled and the members allowed to discuss the mandi problems in the state.
At this, the ruling members including, three ministers Naba Kishore Das, Susanta Singh and Dibya Shankar Mishra, urged the Speaker to direct the BJP member Subash Panigrahi to tender an unconditional apology for attempting suicide inside the House. The ministers said that they will not allow the house to run unless he apologisesd.
Apprehending further trouble, the Speaker adjourned the House till 11.30 pm and then till 4 pm.
Talking to the media after the adjournment, Congress member Tara Prasad Bahinipati said that ministers have protested in the well for the first time in the history of the Odisha Assembly. Maintaining that the protest was anti-constitutional, he said the Congress would stall the Assembly businesses until these ministers tendered an apology to the Speaker.
Referring to the demands of the ruling members for the apology of his party colleague, Opposition whip and BJP MLA of Keonjhar Mohan Majhi said there was no question of an apology.
“Panigrahi had no choice as the state government turned a deaf ear to his demands to take necessary steps to facilitate procurement of paddy in the mandis. This is an anti-farmer government that never makes any attempt to redress their grievances,” Majhi pointed out.
The Speaker has the power to take disciplinary action against Panigrahi if he deems fit, he added.
Stating that the suicide attempt in the State Assembly had opened an inglorious chapter in Indian politics, BJD spokesperson Pratap Deb asked whether it was sponsored by the BJP or was it his own personal agenda.
“You can protest in a different manner. But threatening or attempting to commit is a heinous crime. As the BJD strongly condemns such an attempt, it stands by its demand that unless Panigrahi tenders unconditional apology, it will now allow the normal functioning of the House,” Deb pointed out.
With both the ruling and the Opposition members remaining adamant on their stands, the stalemate in the house is most likely to continue during the remaining session today.