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Uproar in Odisha Assembly on panchayat poll violence

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Assembly today witnessed uproar when opposition Congress and BJP demanded a discussion on the violence during the three-tire panchayat elections which ended on February 21.

The Opposition legislators shouted slogans standing on their seats on the second day of the budget session. They demanded that the discussion be held immediately after cancelling the question hour. Unable to run the House, the Speaker Niranjan Pujari adjourned the proceedings till 11.45 AM.

When the House reassembled, the Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra of Congress said the Speaker should allow the debate as the violence of this nature was unheard of in Odisha. He alleged that the political activists of opposition parties were killed while police turned mute witnesses to such crimes.

BJP legislature party leader K V Singhdeo also wanted a debate on the matter and expressed apprehension that further violence could take place after results of the panchayat elections were officially announced.

When the results of the sarpanch, panchayat samiti members and ward members are announced today, the results of the Zilla Parishad, which were contested on party sysmbols, will be announced on February 25.

Singhdeo said a debate in the House could help reduce the clash and violence. However, government chief whip Ananta Das said that it was up to the Speaker to take a decision on the matter. “I think that Speaker will allow such a discussion after election results are announced,” Das said adding that the ruling BJD was in favour of holding a discussion on the poll violence.

Congress chief whip Taraprasad Bahinipati said a bad precedent had been created in this panchayat polls. “There should be no place of violence in the peaceful state like Odisha,” Bahinipati said adding that the one youth was killed in Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s Assembly segment. The miscreants killed the youth in the presence of police, Bahinipati alleged.

The ruling party members also alleged that their party activisits had been fallen prey to the poll violence. “Our party supported Sarpanch candidate has been arrested on flimsy ground,” said BJD law maker Amar Prasad Satpathy.

However, Speaker Pujari did not say anything on whether to allow a discussion on the poll violence in the House.

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