Pradeep Panigrahi Comes Out In Support Of Soumya Patnaik; Says Democracy Under Threat In Odisha

Bhubaneswar: Alleging that democracy is under attack during the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) government in Odisha, Gopalpur MLA Pradeep Panigrahi on Sunday came out in support of legislator Soumya Ranjan Patnaik.

The remarks of Panigrahi, who has been expelled from BJD, came days after Soumya was removed from the post of vice-president of the ruling party.

Soumya, MLA from Khandapada, came under attack from several BJD leaders over his editorials and writings on the role of a bureaucrat in the state and subsequently he was removed from the post of BJD vice-president.

In a stinging attack on the Naveen Patnaik government, Panigrahi told reporters that the post of Assembly Speaker has been lying vacant for a very long time and the government took no step in this regard which shows its mindset.

Since the monsoon session of the Assembly is approaching, the government decided to hold election for the Speaker’s post. However, while finalising the election schedule it ignored the significance of Nuakhai festival which is highly important for legislators from western Odisha, he said.

Finally, the government buckled under pressure and rescheduled the election after MLAs of Congress and BJP decided to skip the election, said Panigrahi.

Referring to Soumya Patnaik, Panigrahi said the Khandapada MLA did not get any opportunity to express his opinion through the party forum. Soumya did not even get the opportunity to meet the Chief Minister and finally he expressed his views through editorials, Panigrahi said.

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