Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Assembly was adjourned twice today over the issue of stole removal issue. However, normalcy returned to the House after the Speaker allowed BJP member Radharani Panda to have her opinion on the issue.
As soon as the zero hour session of the House began, BJP member Radharani Panda demanded a discussion on the stole removal incident in Sundargarh. But as Speaker Niranjan Pujari did not allow her to speak, she staged a sit-in dharna near Speaker’s podium.
Protesting the decision of the Speaker, leader of the BJP legislature party KV Singhdeo stood up and requested the Speaker to give a statement which the latter disallowed.
Though the Speaker requested Panda to withdraw dharna, the latter did not relent. The BJP members later joined Panda and staged sit-in dharna under Speaker’s podium. Unable to run the House due to Opposition uproar, the Speaker adjourned the House twice for 10 minutes each.
Supporting the BJP member, the Congress members also demanded a discussion on the issue. The BJP members later withdrew the dharna after the Speaker allowed one-minute time to Panda to give her statement.
“Following the intervention by the BJP and Congress members, the Speaker allowed me to speak. But as he gave me one minute to speak, I could not say the whole issue in detail. I want to tell the media that women in Odisha have lost their dignity and respect during the 17-year rule of the BJD government,” Panda told media persons later.
Leader of the Opposition Narasingh Mishra said the Speaker cancelled the zero hour without consulting the Opposition which was not a right decision.
Referring to the black stole incident, he said the most unfortunate thing is that the BJP MLA (Radharani Panda) was not properly dealt with at the meeting held in Jharsuguda recently in the presence of chief minister. “The chief minister had invited her to the meeting where she was insulted. She was to give her statement on this issue in the House. But as the Speaker did not allow her to speak, we protested the decision of the Speaker,” Mishra pointed out.
Ruling out the allegations of the Opposition, government chief whip Ananta Das said the BJP MLA had requested the Speaker to give her statement on this issue after the chief minister had given his statement through Parliamentary Affairs minister in the House.
“But as per rules, once the chief minister gives his statement on any issue, no member is allowed to raise the same issue. The Jharsuguda incident had taken place on November 11 and the winter session of the State Assembly began on December 1. If she (Radharani) had to raise the issue, she could have raised it on the opening day or the day after the Assembly session. But she raised this issue after Sundargarh incident which took place on December 5. All I can say that Panda’s reaction is not spontaneous, rather it is an afterthought,” Das noted.