ST, SC MLAs prostrate before CM; pray for implementation of ORV Act

Bhubaneswar: The agitating SC/ST MLAs, who have been on a dharna for the last three days demanding implementation of the ORV Act, on Friday prostrated before chief minister Naveen Patnaik in the Assembly in a novel, innovative protest to put their demand before the leader of the House.

Soon after the House assembled for the day, chief minister Naveen Patnaik moved a condolence motion for the demise of former minister Raghunath Patnaik. Leader of Opposition Narasingh Mishra, BJP legislature party chief Basant Panda also spoke on the motion.

The legislators, who were sitting on dharna near the Speaker’s podium during the condolence speech, suddenly approached the chief minister and put their demand prostrating on the floor. The Speaker adjourned the House till 12.30 PM after the scene enacted by the MLAs on dharna.

However, the chief minister paid little heed to their demand and left the House inviting sharp criticism from the agitating lawmakers.

“There is nothing wrong in prostrating before the Leader of the House for the interest of 38 per cent of the population of the State. We followed the Odia culture to put forth our demands. But, honourable chief minister, who has a hard heart, paid little respect to us,”, Congress MLA Prafulla Majhi said. “Irrespective of parties, I call upon all legislators to join us in our legitimate demand”, Majhi added.

Reacting to this style of protest, BJD asked the lawmakers to raise their voice in a democratic manner. “The sanctity of the Assembly should not be violated in any way. They should protest in a democratic way,” said BJD spokesperson Sashibhusan Behera.

BJP lawmaker Rabi Naik, who is among those on dharna, said; “We have not brought any disrepute to the sanctity of the Assembly. We have just raised a demand that is vital for the interests of 38% of the State’s people”.

The members of Opposition parties were evicted forcibly from in front of the CM’s chamber in the Assembly by the security personnel yesterday.

Amid din, the House passed Rs 98,416.92-crore Appropriation Bill for the year 2016-17.