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Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: Odisha witnessed a never-seen-before spectacle in its recent political history on Thursday when bowing to mounting Opposition pressure Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik stepped out of the confines of his residence, Naveen Niwas and agreed for a discussion over the contentious anomalies in procurement of paddy in the State.

As opposition BJP MLAs laid a siege of Naveen Niwas after walking for over 3 kilometres under the blazing sun to search the ‘missing’ Chief Minister-- who remained elusive during the budget session of the State Assembly-- Patnaik came out of his ancestral address to greet the protestors.

https://youtu.be/hs7J1nDIntg

Clad in his trademark crisp white Kurta-Pajama, Patnaik in his easy mannerism ushered a delegation from among the protesting legislators into Naveen Niwas for a discussion on the topic.

Minutes later, Senior BJP MLA Bishnu Sethi who was part of the delegation, emerged out of Naveen Niwas and said, “ the Chief Minister has given assurances that the Speaker would convene an all party meeting to discuss the (paddy procurement) issues. Naveen Patnaik has also assured that paddy will be lifted from the mandis.”

With the expression of an apparent victory writ large on his face, a beaming Sethi said the outcome of the Opposition protest was nothing sort of a ‘history’ in the recent political culture of the State.

“We are happy that we finally ‘found’ the CM. It is for the first time in the last 21 year’s political history of the State that the Chief Minister himself came out and called us for discussion,”Sethi announced.

Earlier during the day, the BJP took to streets on a mission to track down Naveen Patnaik for his ‘absence’ from the Assembly during the budget session where proceedings were stalled for the sixth consecutive day on Thursday following pandemonium over the paddy procurement and mandi mismanagement issues. Party legislators took out a morcha from the State Assembly to Naveen Nivas while waving banners and raising slogans. Interestingly, a group MLAs from the ruling BJD were seen trailing the Opposition morcha.

Meanwhile, senior BJD leader Bikram Keshari Arukh said, “the BJP delegation had gone to meet the CM and the discussions were held in the most cordial manner. We hope the Odisha Assembly will now function normally.”

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