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Odisha Tourism Minister's Hyderbad Trip With Women Friends Draws Controversy

28 November 2019

Debashish Maharana

Bhubaneswar: Tourism Department Minister, Jyoti Prakash Panigrahy has landed in a soup because of his recent trip to Hyderabad to attend a roadshow organized by the Odisha Tourism Development Corporation.

Panigrahi's tour, reportedly with two women has drawn the ire of opposition. The matter was raised during the Zero Hour of the Assembly today.

Leveling allegations of misutilisation of authority and public money, Leader of Opposition, Pradipta Nayak demanded an answer from Panigrahi about the travelers and in what capacity they accompanied the minister.

Congress MLAs Sanotsh Singh Saluja, Tara Prasad Bahinipati and veteran Suresh Routray demanded Panigrahi's resignation. The Congress MLAs came down to the well of the house and demanded sought disciplinary action against hi. The house was adjourned for 30 minutes on this matter.

Later the issue intensified following which Speaker Surjya Narayan Patro adjourned the Assembly session till 3 pm. However, Panigrahi did not answer the questions in the Assembly. Speaking to media persons outside, he said, "I have not broken any law. OTDC shows are open to one and all."

Earlier on Wednesday, Panigrahi dismissed that allegations as "baseless and fake.” However, the opposition was in no mood to buy his arguments, saying, “Why should the Government bear the expenses of the Minister’s friends when he was on an official visit?”

On the other hand, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Bikram Keshari Arukh responded to the Opposition on this matter. Arukh said that apart from the Minister's expenses no additional expenditure has been made for (anyone) from the State exchequer. 

it was only for the Minister's (Panigrahi)

Jyoti Prakash Panigrahy, Minister, Tourism, Odisha

Pradipta Nayak, Leader of Opposition, Odisha Legislative Assembly

Sanotsh Singh Saluja, Congress MLA, Odisha