Pradeep Pattanayak

Impasse continued for the seventh day of the Odisha Legislative Assembly’s winter session on Wednesday as Opposition party legislators created ruckus in the House over the Mamita Meher murder case. 

After the House assembled for business on Wednesday, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress legislators stalled the proceeding by showing posters and placards and shouting slogans against Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Minister of State for Home Dibya Shankar Mishra. The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MLAs were no different either. 

The BJD law makers were seen standing on their respective seats holding posters wherein Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, BJP MP Basant Panda and senior BJP leader Kanaka Bardhana Singhdeo are seen with Mohan Lal Sharma, the advocate of Govinda Sahu, the prime accused in the Mamita Meher murder case. The BJD MLAs were heard shouting slogans against the saffron party. 

In the ongoing poster war, the saffron party, launching a counter attack, displayed posters with some featuring Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Govinda Sahu, while some others showed Minister Dibya Shankar Mishra with the murder accused. They even went one step ahead, rushed to the well and started beating gongs.  

Likely, the members of the grand old party-Congress- were seen staging protests showing placards on Minister Mishra and Mamita Meher.

Finding it impossible to carry on the business, Speaker Surya Narayan Patro adjourned the House till 11:30 am. The BJD and BJP took the fight to the corridors of the House. While the BJP members staged a protest showing posters and beating gongs, the BJD legislators staged a dharana at the Gandhi statue. The BJD members alleged they can see through the BJP’s double standards a mile’s off. “Mohan Lal Sharma is a member of the BJP and the party is trying to save the main accused by employing Sharma as the advocate of Govinda Sahu. On one hand they are demanding action against the culprit while on the other, they are hatching a plot to save Sahu,” alleged BJD leader Pratap Deb.

In their response, the BJP members said Mohan Lal Sharma is not a member of their party. “If they (BJD leaders) have proof to substantiate their claims that Mohan Lal Sharma is a member of the BJP, they should make it public. Rather Pratap Deb and Dibya Shankar Mishra have been luring Mohan Lal Sharma with the promise of making him a government advocate,” counterattacked BJP leader Mohan Majhi. 

At the same time, senior Congress leader Narasingha Mishra said the government’s autocracy is not a good sign for democracy.  

Later, the Speaker called an all-party meeting with a view to end the impasse. At the meeting, the BJP and Congress put forth three proposals. Their proposals included-- the CM show up in the Assembly and take part in the business, expel Minister Dibya Shankar Mishra and don’t allow the Minister of State for Home during the discussion on the budget of the Home department. 

The Speaker later, while speaking to journalists, said he was hopeful that the discussion would be fruitful. 

As the House reassembled in the afternoon, the same pandemonium prevailed.