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Pti

The opposition Congress MLAs on Wednesday staged a dharna at one of the gates of the Odisha Assembly to prevent the entry of Minister of State for Home D S Mishra into the House.

They are demanding Mishra's removal from the Council of Ministers and arrest for alleged link with the prime accused in the Kalahandi woman teacher's kidnap and murder case.

As announced earlier to prevent Mishra's entry into the House, the Congress lawmakers led by Taraprasad Bahinipati sat on the entry point holding placards demanding the minister's removal and his arrest. "Go back Minister of State, Home, Odisha, Let CM reply... Give Justice to Woman Teacher," the placards read.

The Congress MLAs also put another gate under lock to ensure that the MoS Home could not enter the House. However, the Assembly secretariat staff later broke the lock and opened the gate.

"We are opposed to MoS Home's entry into the August House. We will not allow the tainted minister to impure the sanctity of the sacred House which is a temple for the people of Odisha," Bahinipati told reporters here. Senior members like former minister Suresh Routray, S S Saluja and others also participated in the protest.

Other MLAs and ministers, however, had smooth passage to enter the House.

Till the House paid obituary reference to the ex-members and slain COVID-19 Warriors, Mishra was not seen in the House. The agitating MLAs later withdrew the dharna and participated in the House proceedings.

The House was later adjourned till 5 pm after obituary reference was made to the departed leaders.

The winter session of the Odisha Assembly commenced here with strict adherence to the COVID-19 protocol and will continue till December 31. The session will have a total of 26 working days including five private members days.

The first supplementary budget of the current financial year will be tabled by Finance minister Niranjan Pujari later in the day. Official business will be transacted from December 2 to 6 while private members' business (bills and resolutions) will be tabled on December 3.

Discussion on demand for grants for the first supplementary statement of expenditure for 2021-22 will be held from December 7, followed by discussion and approval of the Appropriation Bill.

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