Odisha Assembly winter session begins on stormy note

The winter session of Odisha 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.

They were demanding justice to the victim and removal of Minister of State for Home Dibya Shankar Mishra for his alleged close link with the prime accused in the case.

Prior to the beginning of the House proceedings, the Congress MLAs staged a ‘dharna’ on two of the entry points to the House holding placards demanding Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s reply, removal & arrest of minister Mishra and justice for Mamita Meher. Senior members including Suresh Routray, Taraprasad Bahinipati, Santosh Singh Saluja, Mohammed Moquim participated in the protest.

The protesting Congress members also locked another gate in a bid to prevent entry of Mishra into the House. After a while, the security staff broke down 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 dharan to ensure that the minister, who is involved in the Mamita Meher murder case, should not enter 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 SN Parto and urged him not to allow the minister into the House.

On the other hand, the ruling BJD members marched to Raj Bhawan on a rally alleging step motherly attitude by the 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 units, while funds are being sanctioned to the BJP ruled states. So we are strongly protesting it,” said BJD legislator Byomkesh Ray.

Meanwhile, the House proceedings started at sharp 11 a.m. with strict adherence to Covid-19 protocols. The chief minister attended the first day of the session through videoconference from his residence ‘Naveen Nivas’ here, while two members participated while sitting in conference halls of the State Secretariat and another from the district headquarters.

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

The House paid obituary references to former deputy speaker of the Assembly Prahalad Dora, former legislators Umesh Chandra Swain & Ramray Munda, ex-sepoy of Odisha police, Sitaram Murmu and the Covid-19 warriors, who laid down their lives for the services of the people.

Minister Mishra was not seen in the floor till the House paid tribute to the above personalities.

After paying obituary references, the House was adjourned till 5 p.m. The first supplementary budget of the current financial year will be tabled before the House this evening.

The session will continue till December 31. It will have a total of 26 working days, including five private members days.




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