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Suryakant Jena

Bhubaneswar: In a shocking incident, a BJP legislator in the Odisha Assembly attempted to end his life alleging the State government's failure in resolving various issues related to the agrarian distress in the State like mismanagement at mandis, irregularities in paddy procurement, including the token system, on Friday.

BJP MLA from Deogarh, Subash Chandra Panigrahi attempted to drink the contents from a bottle of hand sanitiser as a mark of protest during briefing by the State Supplies Minister Ranendra Swain in the House during the on-going budget session of the State legislature.

However, Panigrahi was prevented from consuming the liquid by the Parliamentary Affairs Minister Bikram Arukha and some other legislators present in the vicinity who took away the bottle from the aggrieved legislator.

Earlier in the day, the second phase of the Budget session of the State Assembly began on a stormy note as Opposition BJP and Congress members created ruckus in the House over paddy procurement issues. Due to uproarious scenes in the House, the Speaker had to adjourn the proceedings on multiple occasions.

Panigrahi even threatened to claim his own life by self immolation against the sheer apathy of the government towards farmers.

The legislator from Deogarh had also issued repeated warnings to the government earlier in February last month. He had said that he would not hesitate to kill himself by taking extreme steps if the farmers' issues were not resolved at the earliest.

The unprecedented incident which has shocked everyone comes close on the heels of a series of suicide bids by ordinary citizens in front of the Assembly.

Speaking to reporters after the House proceedings today, Panigrahi explained that government’s indifference towards repeated grievances of farmers prompted him to resort to the suicide bid.

“I am not even able to face farmers in my own constituency because they are suffering and I am helpless because the government is unwary. If anything had happened to me, BJD government and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik would have been responsible," said Panigrahi.

He further claimed that paddy is lying without procurement at all the 29 PACS across Deogarh.

Meanwhile, BJD MLA Ananta Das spoke to newsmen outside the Assembly saying, “We should raise farmers’ issue in Assembly. But, such act in the House is not acceptable."

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