Two Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLAs-Mohan Charan Majhi and Mukesh Mahaling were suspended from the Monsoon Session of the Odisha Legislative Assembly on Thursday.
The disciplinary action was reportedly taken by the Speaker of the House.
According to sources, the two legislators were suspended for allegedly throwing pulses at the Speaker's podium while the business was underway in the House on Thursday.
As per sources, BJP legislators were protesting at the well of the Assembly over ruling BJD leader Arun Sahoo's alleged remarks against the Leader of the Opposition. During the ruckus, the BJP legislators reportedly threw pulses at the Speaker's podium. The pulses were reportedly carried by the legislators in polythene bags.
"The House was irked over their action and words and subsequently action was initiated as per the Constitutional norms. They have been suspended for the current session," said Odisha Assembly Speaker, Pramila Mallik.
Meanwhile, MLA Mohan Charan Majhi denied the allegation of throwing pulses at the Speaker's podium.
“The allegation of throwing pulses at the Speaker's podium is false. It surprised me that the Speaker took the decision without seeing the visuals. I neither threw nor gifted pulses to her. I feel sad for having been suspended without any reason. The Speaker’s decision is unfortunate and I condemn it,” said Majhi.
When asked about the idea of gifting pulses to the Speaker, Majhi said, “When she (Pramila Mallik) was the Women and Child Development minister, there were allegations of corruption in pulses distributed under the mid-day meal scheme. And since she is fond of ‘dal’, pulses were brought to be given to her as a gift.”
Similarly, MLA Mahaling said, “When the Leader of Opposition (LoP) was not allowed to put forth his statement, his mic was disconnected and he was disrespected, it is the right of the Opposition party to protest, be it inside or outside the House. So we protested. In 2011, the present Speaker who was then the Women and Child Development Minister was suspended from the cabinet for her involvement in pulses corruption; and since she likes ‘dal’ most, we wanted to gift it to her."
In his reaction, Leader of Opposition, Jaynarayan Mishra said, “The Speaker is not neutral. We are hardly witnessing her neutrality. Today, a discussion on the Home Department was scheduled to be held. The Speaker forgot her role and started behaving like a party member. When such a situation was witnessed in the House, she could have called an all-party meeting. But she didn’t do that. She didn’t try to find a way to resolve the problem. It is because they have failed in the Home Department. The protectors have become predators. Policemen have become robbers. Police stations are being auctioned. I want to mention here that there are allegations against the Chief Minister and super Chief Minister in Naba Das murder case.”
When asked about the 'pulses throwing' incident, he said, “Since she misappropriated pulses meant for children, it indicated that ‘dal’ is her favourite, hence our MLAs decided to gift her ‘dal’.
When asked about the suspension of two MLAs, Mishra said, “Instead of the two MLAs, the Speaker should have been suspended.”
Taking a strong exception to what happened in the House, BJD MLA Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak said, “The Speaker’s chair has dignity. We are strongly condemning the attempts to tarnish the dignity of the chair. We don’t have words to condemn it in the democratic set up.”