Furore in Assembly over Modi’s poverty remark

Bhubaneswar: Demanding an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his Odisha poverty remark made at an election rally in Uttar Pradesh yesterday, Congress legislators on Saturday stalled the proceedings of the House while shouting slogans whereas BJD members staged a dharna in the State Assembly premises.

As soon as the House assembled for today’s business, Congress chief whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati along with party legislators rushed to the well of the House and shouted slogans demanding an apology from the Prime Minister for his remark on Odisha. They also alleged Modi’s statement is an insult to the people of Odisha.

Unable to run the house, Speaker Niranjan Pujari adjourned the proceedings of the House till 11.30 am.

Besides, the BJD members staged the dharna near the Mahatma Gandhi statue in the State Assembly premises after the adjournment.

Speaking to newsmen Tara Prasad Bahinipati, Congress Chief whip, said, “The Prime Minister yesterday made a remark at a poll rally saying Odisha is a poverty-stricken state despite the fact that BJD-BJP alliance ruled the State for 9 years. The Congress party wants to clarify one thing that Odisha is not a poor State and Odias and their language have a self esteem. As the poverty statement is an insult to Odias, Congress today raised the matter in the House demanding an unconditional apology from the Prime Minister.”

Also read: BJD slams PM’s disparaging remarks on Odisha

He further stated, “We will not let the Assembly to function until the Prime Minister beg an apology from the people of Odisha.”

Demanding the same, BJD legislator Capt Dibya Shankar Mishra stated, “The way Prime Minister made a mockery of Odisha and its people, self esteem of every Odia has been hurt. It’s very unfortunate, the Prime Minister of the country made such remark on a State. This is not a healthy trend for democracy. Therefore, today we raised the issue on the floor of he House demanding an apology from the PM.”

Rejecting the apology demand, BJP MLA from Padampur Pradip Purohit said, “New political equations have taken shape after the recently concluded rural polls. There are chances of alliance between BJD and Congress who are working hand in glove.”

He added, “BJD should be happy as the PM mentioned about the poverty in the State at a public rally outside Odisha. He has as realised the ground situation here.”

Also read: Uproar in Odisha Assembly on panchayat poll violence

Mounting attack on the ruling party, Purohit said, “They (BJD) did not feel shame when Nagada child deaths happened, foreign contributions came to Dana Majhi’s help, child deaths due to japanese encephalitis or farmers committed suicide. Despite 17 years of rule in the State, there is no development for every sections of the society.”

He added, “Instead of asking for apology, BJD should give an explanation on why development works have not been carried out. They are only trying to politicise the matter.”

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