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IANS

The Opposition BJP and the Congress on Friday created an uproar in the Assembly demanding the entry of journalists into the press gallery inside the House.

At present, the journalists are seated in a conference room outside the main assembly hall and cover the proceedings through video conferencing.

Raising the issue during Question Hour, the Opposition MLAs trooped into the well of the House and disrupted the proceedings. Unable to conduct the House business, Speaker B.K. Arukha convened an all-party meeting, adjourning the House till 11.30 a.m.

However, the situation remained almost the same when the House reassembled for Zero Hour at 11.30 a.m.

As the media persons are not allowed into the press gallery, they were not able to report the proceedings correctly, said BJP chief whip Mohan Charan Majhi.

When the Rath Yatra was conducted with the participation of lakhs of people and Parliament started functioning normally, why should the journalists not be allowed into the press gallery? he asked.

Majhi said some of the members are being treated like second-class citizens as they were asked to sit in galleries which demeaned their dignity.

Congress member Tara Prasad Bahinipati demanded that the Speaker allow media persons to sit in the press gallery to cover the proceedings. He also urged the Speaker to allow the members to sit in the House like in pre-Covid times.

Other members including Jayanarayan Mishra from the BJP, Santosh Singh Saluja (Congress) and Laxman Munda of the CPI (M) also demanded that the Speaker allow the media persons into the press gallery and ensure normal functioning of the assembly like earlier.

Keeping in mind the safety of members in view of the Covid-19 pandemic, the new seating arrangements for MLAs and journalists were finalised at an all-party meeting, said the Speaker.

Only a few days are left for the current session of the Assembly to end. A decision on lifting the restrictions on the media would be taken in the next session of the House considering the situation prevailing at that time, he added.
 

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