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Rashmi Rekha Das

Speaker of Odisha State Assembly Bikram Keshari Arukha on Saturday adjourned proceedings of the House till 4pm following pandemonium over Nupur Sharma controversy. 

Congress legislative party leader Narasingha Mishra and deputy leader of the BJP Legislature Party Bishnu Charan Sethi had a face-off on the issue. Following adjournment of the House a number of times, Speaker had to finally adjourn the House till 4pm.

According to sources, war of words exchanged between Congress and BJP leaders over Nupur Sharma issue.  

Congress legislative party leader Narasingha Mishra said the Supreme Court called out former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Nupur Sharma for her controversial remarks against Prophet Muhammad and said she needs to apologise to the nation. As Nupur belongs to BJP, the Apex Court indirectly criticized BJP. Thus, Chief Minster must clear his stand on Nupur Sharma. 

Deputy leader of the BJP Legislature Party Bishnu Charan Sethi said, “The incident happened in Udaipur which is being ruled by Congress government. Does Congress government tender its resignation there?”

Sethi further said “Nupur is not part of the State Assembly. Thus, she should not be discussed here. BJP has suspended her and she has also begged apology for her comment.”
Initially, the speaker had adjourned the House for 10 minutes over the pandemonium over Nupur Sharma controversy. As Congress and BJP did not retreat from argument, the Speaker had to adjourn the House till 4pm.

Earlier, members of the ruling party expressed concerns over the reasons responsible for the ‘dwindling number’ of foreign tourists to the State. 

Ruling-party MLA Debi Prasad Mishra raised the issue in the beginning of the session and said, “The State government has failed to prepare roadmap for sustainable tourism development which is why the state is not able to attract foreign tourists. As a result, the tourism spots have witnessed a dip in the footfall of foreign tourists. Funds sanctioned for the cause are not being spent properly. The State government has to take a call on it.”

Deputy leader of Opposition Bishnu Sethi said “The government has neglected tourism sector. Creatively written literature on tourism can attract visitors and make effort to preserve the wholeness of the destination. Thus, literature should be published for the development of the tourism sector.”

Congress leader Narasingha Mishra, MLA Santosh Singh Saluja and Suresh Kumar Routray also raised issues pertaining to tourism in their respective areas.

Replying to the queries, the State Tourism Minister Aswini Kumar Patra said “The Odisha government has taken adequate steps for the development of the tourism sector. Since the outbreak of Covid-19 in 2019, the State has registered a decline in the number of foreign tourists. For 2022-23 financial year, an estimated expenditure of Rs 574 crore will be prepared for the cause.”

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