Normalcy eludes Odisha Assembly for fourth day

Bhubaneswar: Normalcy eluded the state Assembly for the fourth consecutive day today with the Congress members demanding an apology from the Prime Minister for his remarks on Odisha’s poverty even as two ruling BJD MLAs regretted their choice of words against Narendra Modi.

The House witnessed noisy scenes as soon as it assembled for the day with the BJP members staging a demonstration in the Well during Question Hour. They demanded an apology from two treasury bench members who had used certain objectionable words against the prime minister yesterday.

Unable to run the House, the Speaker adjourned the proceedings twice as the BJP members continued to create a ruckus demanding an apology from the BJD.

When the House reassembled at 12.15 pm, two BJD MLAs, Mahesh Sahoo and Samir Ranjan Dash, regretted using certain words against the prime minister for his alleged anti-Odisha remarks at an election rally in Uttar Pradesh.

“I am sorry if my friends in the BJP are hurt. But, I am not worried about my statement as it was to defend the pride of Odisha,” Sahoo said, adding that nobody expected such “humiliating” words from the prime minister at an election rally in another state.

He demanded that the BJP members also expressed regret in the House for the anti-Odisha statement of the prime minister.

Dash too regretted his statement against Modi but added that the prime minister’s remarks on Odisha’s poverty were an insult to the state’s pride. “The prime minister’s remarks on Odisha’s poverty are not acceptable in a federal system of governance,” he said.

Just when it seemed that normalcy was gradually returning after the BJD MLAs’ statements, the Congress members rushed to the Well and demanded an apology from the prime minister.

“We demand a censure motion be passed in the House as the prime minister’s remark has hurt lakhs of people in the state.

Nobody in the state approves of such a statement from the prime minister,” said Congress Chief Whip Taraprasad Bahinipati, who led the agitation in the Well of the House.Announcing that the Congress will not allow the House to function, he said the prime minister should tender an apology either in the media or at a public meeting or in Parliament.

Bahinipati also raised a question on Leader of the House (Chief Minister) Naveen Patnaik’s silence on the matter.

Modi had told an election meeting in Uttar Pradesh’s Gonda last month, “Odisha, where there is so much poverty, starvation, unemployment and where the BJP did not even have a foothold to place its flag, people have given it so much support that everyone is taken aback…even the poor of Odisha have come with the BJP.”