Sharmili Mallick

Steadfast protests from Opposition BJP and Congress over the alleged links of Minister of State (MoS) for Home Dibya Shankar Mishra with the prime accused in the murder of Kalahandi school teacher Mamita Meher continued for the second consecutive day of the winter session of the Odisha Assembly on Thursday, forcing Speaker to adjourn the House till 4 pm.

As soon as the House assembled at 10.30 for business, BJP legislators, holding banners and shouting slogans, rushed to the well and demanded the immediate removal of Mishra and a CBI probe into the case. The BJP MLAs also demanded the Speaker to bar Mishra from taking part in the Assembly proceedings.

BJP has also moved an adjournment motion notice for a discussion over the deteriorating law and order situation in the State.
Later, Congress members too, carrying posters and banners, started shouting and demanded the ouster of Minister Mishra from the State Cabinet. 

Unable to run the proceedings, Speaker Surjya Narayan Patro adjourned the House till 4 pm.

In a counter move, BJD MLAs staged a dharna near Mahatma Gandhi statue on the premises of the Odisha Assembly protesting the stiff hike in LPG prices.

Condemning the Speaker’s move to adjourn the House, Opposition Chief Whip Mohan Majhi said, “In order to ensure an impartial probe into the Mamita murder case, CBI should take over the investigation. We had proposed a discussion demanding the removal of Minister Dibya Shankar Mishra from the Cabinet and a CBI investigation into the murder case but when the Speaker did not pay heed to our demands, we went to the well of the House to highlight our issues.”

“However, the Speaker adjourned the House till 4 pm. The House is usually adjourned for an hour during Question Hour. We had also brought adjournment motion notice over the deteriorating law and order situation in the State today. But the Speaker does not want the matter to be discussed. This clearly indicates that the Speaker is under pressure from the BJD government and, as per their instruction, he adjourned the House till 4 pm,” said Majhi.

“I have not seen in any State that a ruling party stalls the House or stages protest in the Assembly. But this is happening in Odisha. How will the Home department or police conduct a fair investigation if the Minister in charge himself is involved in the case? We have requested the government to remove Minister Mishra from the Cabinet. Then only we will participate in the assembly session,” Congress MLA from Kantabanji, Santosh Singh Saluja, said.

BJP MLA from Aul, Pratap Keshari Deb slammed the Opposition parties for stalling the House.

“The Opposition (BJP) stalled the House by raking up Mamita Meher issue. This means they do not want discussions on other issues like MSP, banking, telecom and LPG price. They know that if these matters are discussed, it will backfire on them (BJP). They brought an adjournment motion today and it could have been discussed. But they don’t want discussions at all. Instead, they resorted to protest as soon as the House assembled. This is a well-planned strategy of BJP and Congress to ignore main topics,” said Deb.