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Odisha Assembly: Congress-BJP Verbal Spat Stalls Proceedings, Speaker Adjourns House Repeatedly


16 July 2019

Debashish Maharana


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Bhubaneswar: The second day of the second phase of Odisha Legislative Assembly (OLA)’s ongoing Budget Session witnessed pandemonium due to heated arguments between BJP and Congress members when Congress laid stress upon discussion on setting up High Court Permanent Bench in western Odisha, BJP sought to know why the State Government has not yet submitted list of beneficiaries under PM-KISAN.  

As the BJP member’s issue got immersed in the ruckus created by Congress MLAs, it sparked off war of words between the two opposition parties following which Speaker had to adjourn the House repeatedly and eventually till 3.00 pm for the day.    

Soon after the Zero Hour began, Congress Legislature Party Leader Narasingha Mishra raised the High Court Permanent Bench issue. He demanded that it should be set up in Bolangir of western Odisha. In his contention, he also cited the Jasobant Singh Commission’s recommendation.

The senior Congress MLA alleged that the State Government is in confusion and unnecessarily sitting over the vital issue.

He questioned why the State Government is not submitting its report soon and making it more contentious day by day while the litigant public is suffering due to the prolonged stir by the agitating lawyers.

Same matter was also raised by senior Congress MLA Tara Prasad Bahinipati in favour of the demand for setting up High Court Bench in southern Odisha.

Senior Congress MLA Santosh Singh Saluja also raised the issue backing his senior party colleague Narasingha Mishra.

Soon after the Congress, Speaker Surya Narayan Patro allowed BJP member and Deputy Leader of Opposition Bishnu Charan Sethi to raise his issue. He questioned why the State Government is not sending the list of beneficiaries to the Centre for reaping benefits under the PM-KISAN.

However, the Congress members pressed for their demand for discussion on the High Court Bench issue following which there was war of words between both BJP and Congress members.

Unable to run the House smoothly owing to the pandemonium, Speaker had to first adjourn the proceedings for five minutes and then for 15 minutes and consequently till 3 pm.

Later in his media reactions, Congress Legislature Party Leader Narasingha Mishra burst, “BJP is least interested in setting up of High Court Permanent Bench in western Odisha. Had they (BJP members) been keen on establishing High Court Permanent Bench in western and southern Odisha, they would have joined us today in our demand. Why did they sit mum?”

“When we raised the High Court Permanent Bench issue, they (BJP) members wanted to raise other issue to divert attention, dilute our issue and shield the ruling BJD. It is due to the unwritten secret pact between the BJP and BJD. They (BJP) wanted to raise their party’s issue,” he alleged.

In his counter reactions, senior BJP MLA and Deputy Leader of Opposition Bishnu Charan Sethi said, “All the members of all the parties have equal right during Zero Hour. I have very often marked that some of our friends are rushing to the well soon after they have spoken something. When we get our chance, they are blocking us.”

“It is being done deliberately in a planned way. They (Congress MLAs) might be honey-mooning with the ruling party,”

On the contrary, Government Chief Whip Pramila Mallick in her reactions said, “How can we know what mutual understanding Congress and BJP have? We haven’t struck any deal with any of the parties. They have an agreement from the very beginning. We are according the just honour to the opposition that ought to be in the House.”

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Narasingha Mishra, Senior Congress MLA, Odisha

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Bishnu Charan Sethi, Senior BJP MLA, Odisha

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Pramila Mallick, Govt Chief Whip, Odisha