Bhubaneswar: Even the inaugural day of first session (Budget Session) of the newly-elected 16th Odisha Legislative Assembly (OLA) witnessed noisy scene following protest by the peeved Congress MLAs against the Speaker’s “no formal announcement” in the House and directly inviting the designated senior BJP legislator as Leader of Opposition to participate in the proceedings.
Soon after Speaker Surya Narayan Patro addressed senior BJP MLA Pradipta Naik as Leader of Opposition, Congress members led by Taraprasad Bahinipati and Suresh Chandra Routray rushed into the well of the House resorted to uproarious scene before the Speaker’s podium. Later on, the Congress lawmakers staged a walk-out from the House.
This happened after the Governor’s address to the Budget Session and the Chief Minister’s obituary references for the departed souls of the House and martyrs.
In his media reactions, former Leader of Opposition and senior most Congress MLA Narasingha Mishra said, “We didn’t know if the BJP had formally handed over the letter to the Speaker for granting status to their party as Leader of Opposition. BJP can’t claim itself anymore as the Opposition because BJD and BJP have created history today in the entire country. Without the formal announcement in the House, the Speaker addressed as Leader of Opposition.”
“When we objected, we were unheard. For the last few years, there has been tradition in the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and even in our Assembly that the House is adjourned when it is being stalled followed by an all-party meeting and decision is taken how to make the run smoothly. Today when I urged the Speaker to bring the House to order before you proceed, he replied us to bring the House to order. What does it mean? Hence, we walked out in protest,” stated Narasingha.
Leader of Opposition Pradipta Naik (BJP) in his reactions said, “We hadn’t submitted our paper. Resolution has already been over. The Speaker addressed suo motu.”
He argued, “BJD and BJP were never ‘bhai bhai’ siblings. Neither BJD is our relative nor we (BJP) related to them.”
On the contrary, Government Chief Whip Pramila Mallick defended, “Hon’ble Speaker informed that the paper had reached him. Otherwise he wouldn’t have addressed like that. How could he address Pradipta Naik as the Leader of Opposition.”
She reiterated, “Speaker had admitted that the requisite paper had been received by his office. He got confirmed from his office and addressed like that.”
“In my area, Congress had bagged 34,000 votes, BJP got 13,000 votes and BJD bagged 76,000 votes. Now why all Congress votes went to BJP? From where does BJP bag 97,000 votes? Congress has diverted all their votes to BJP. Rather Congress has helped BJP to get strengthened at the grassroots level,” the senior BJD MLA burst.