**Bhubaneswar:** In a bizarre and blatant breach of the premier law of land, the lawmakers of the Treasury Bench (ruling BJD MLAs) on the day one of the Odisha Assembly showed utter disrespect to the most revered National Anthem.
The moment Speaker Niranjan Pujari entered the House onto his podium, all members of the House stood up as a mark of respect and the statutory National Anthem was to be recited as was well-known to all.
Notwithstanding that, BJD (Chandbali) legislator Byomakesh Roy started raising slogan against Chhattisgarh and Centre over the Mahanadi row even though the Speaker raised his right hand hinting a warning not to do so as the National Anthem was to be recited.
The National Anthem was played and even amid the recital of its initial part, the sloganeering went on, but was stopped abruptly after further warning from fellow members.
The moment the National Anthem concluded, the hell-bent sloganeering re-stormed.
Opposition Congress termed it is a downright disregard to the National Anthem.
“At the behest of their supremo and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who was present in the House during the incident, the ruling BJD MLAs have accorded utter dishonour to our most revered National Anthem. The Chief Minister has breached the pious Constitutional guidelines. I think ruling party legislators, Chief Minister and Speaker had earlier hatched a plan to foil the business on the first day. So, Speaker allowed them to create chaos rejecting our motion to cancel the Question Hour and discussion on Mahanadi issue. Speaker is unable to run the House impartially. Therefore, it can be said that Odisha Assembly is functioning at the whims and fancies of the ruling BJD and not as per the Constitutional guidelines. The entire episode is pre-planned,” said Leader of Opposition Narasingh Mishra later in his media reactions at his Assembly chamber.
Opposition chief whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati fumed, “Biju Janata Dal has not yet learnt to honour the National Anthem. The party who does not know how to show respect to the pious soil, water and air of this nation, it is shameful to note that they are raising their voice against the Mahanadi and Polavaram issues. It marks a constitutional crisis”.
Beating about the bush, Minister Sanjay Das Burma said, “There is no question on it. We all have deep respect to National Anthem. Odisha’s interest is the prime point now. Those who are trying to downplay it, time will be never spare them”.
BJD legislator Byomakesh Roy defended, “We were all obsessed with the Polavaram and Mahanadi issues, but when there was the recital of National Anthem we stopped our sloganeering and after that we again raised the issue before the Speaker of the Assembly”.