Speaker not applying constitutional power: Minister

Bhubaneswar: As Odisha Assembly remained paralysed since start of the winter session due to unabated pandemonium, Opposition Congress today questioned the government why it was not removing Speaker Niranjan Pujari if he was not being able to implement his constitutional powers.

“If you (Govt) feel that the Speaker is not being able to run the House effectively, why don’t you change him,” Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra asked while reacting to a statement of Excise Minister Damodar Rout.

Rout, senior most member in Naveen Patnaik Ministry, earlier in the day said, “It appears the Speaker is not applying the constitutional power he enjoys. It is Speaker’s responsibility to ensure smooth functioning of the House.

However, all political parties should cooperate with the Speaker.”

Rout’s remarks came as the Assembly remained paralysed over holding a discussion on multi-crore chitfund issue. While opposition Congress and BJP demand a debate on the matter, the treasury bench members attempted to foil it leading to uninterrupted pandemonium in the House.

Earlier, Pujari had announced that no member can raise or refer chitfund issue in any form in the House. The Speaker said he made a decision not to allow discussion on chitfund issue in the assembly in reference to the advice of the Advocate General.

When contacted, Speaker Niranjan Pujari said: “He (Rout) is a senior member of the House. I should learn a lot from him.”

Former Speaker and Finance Minister Pradip Kumar Amat said “Doctors differ on various issues. I do not think there is any fault in Speaker.”