Oppn Congress moves privilege notice against daily

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Bhubaneswar: Opposition Congress on Thursday moved a privilege notice against an English daily in Odisha assembly which published a report against the Speaker Niranjan Pujari.

Stating that the opposition cannot close its eyes and ears to what people write and talk, Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra of Congress said the news report indicated how the Speaker rejected the demand for a debate on the chitfund issue.

This prompted them to bring the privilege motion, as for maintaining dignity of the House, the Speaker’s role is important, the Opposition said.

“He should not only be impartial, but also should appear to be impartial,” Mishra observed while reading out the contents of the news report directed at the Speaker.

Though the House was prohibited to discuss the chitfund issue, some ruling party members made certain remarks in this connection yesterday and despite being expunged by the Speaker, (the remarks) came up in some newspapers.

“Therefore, it appears that the BJD members can raise the chitfund issue in the assembly and not the opposition members,” Mishra further said.

Speaker Pujari, however, said that he stands by his earlier ruling of not allowing a discussion on the chitfund issue as the matter is sub-judice. “There has been no violation of any rule or law by not allowing debate on the chitfund issue in the assembly. When a chargesheet is filed in the court of law, it is sub-judice,” he said.

On the opposition’s allegation that he continued to reserve the ruling on the use of Odia language in the Bills, Pujari said, “I will give a ruling at the proper time. It should not be whimsical or dictated by anyone. It will be a good ruling.”

Mishra, however, said the opposition feels that withholding ruling for an indefinite period will not serve the purpose of raising the issue.

“If the ruling is given after transaction of all Bills in English language, it may not serve the purpose,” he mentioned.

Congress Chief Whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati also raised an issue stating that Speaker Pujari had been accused of signing a fake caste certificate in the past. “He (Speaker) should not chair the proceeding unless he is cleared of charges,” Bahinipati said.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister B K Aruk said that the Speaker has not signed in the said caste certificate. His signature might have been forged and an inquiry is on in this matter.

Pujari, however, clarified that no investigation is pending against him in case of the forged caste certificate issue.

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