Nitesh Kumar Sahoo

The all-party meeting called by Odisha speaker today hit a jarring note as Odisha BJP, the main opposition party, boycotted it.

The Deputy Leader of Odisha BJP legislature Party, Bishnu Charan Sethi, today walked out of the all-party meet convened by the Assembly Speaker Surjya Narayan Patro, when the Speaker didn't allow the party's proposal to allow Chief Whip Mohan Majhi and senior leader Jaynarayan Mishra to attend. 

"The party had given a proposal to replace LoP with Chief Whip in the all-party meet. Moreover, we had sought for increasing the number of members of the Opposition during the meeting. The Speaker, though, had earlier promised to approve the proposal, refused it today. Honourable Speaker asked us to bring a written proposal from the BJP legislature party," said Sethi.

Protesting the Speaker's decision, Sethi termed it as an injustice to the Opposition and snatching of the constitutional rights. 

Talking to presspersons, Speaker SN Patro said, "We don't have any issue with BJP's proposal to allow a replacement for the ailing LoP in the all-party meeting.  If the LoP is unwell, he can attend the meeting through video conference also. But the BJP's proposal has to come from the Legislature Party and the numbers will remain at two only."

As per convention, the Leader of the Opposition (LoP) and Deputy LoP represented BJP in every all-party meeting convened by Speaker. Since LoP Pradipta Naik is unwell, the saffron party has decided to make changes in the party's team attending all the meetings convened by the Speaker.  

Speaking to the media, BJD's Chief Whip Pramila Mallick said, "BJP had proposed for replacement.  The Speaker said that the BJP legislature party should submit a written proposal. The BJP didn't oblige. Everything will be done in accordance with the Assembly rules and conventions."