Cong ridicules Govt for using tribal card to defend minister

Bhubaneswar : Opposition Congress today strongly criticised the Odisha government for using the "tribal card" to defend its minister Ramesh Chandra Majhi who had been accused of misusing his power while appearing for the Plus-III degree Examination.

The issue relating to Majhi's examination was debated in the assembly, through an adjournment motion, where Opposition Congress alleged that the existing laws for conduct of examination were violated for the sports and youth service minister.

"The government changed the examination centre of Majhi from a college at Dabugaon to Panabeda College and provided him with a separate room with all facilities," senior Congress member S S Saluja said while initiating the debate.

The minister was appearing for the examination from a college of which he was the governing body president, he pointed out alleging that the centre had been selected by the higher education department to help the minister.

Quoting media reports, Saluja pointed out that while the government had last year denied to set up an examination centre at Panabeda College with 54 candidates, this time it allowed the same college to conduct examination with only 27 candidates.

"What is the basis of allowing Panabeda college to conduct Plus-III Examination this time? Is it because the minister is a candidate in the examination this time," Saluja asked.

This apart, Congress MLAs claimed that there was no photograph of Majhi in the admit card for the examination in order to allow someone else to answer papers instead of the minister.

All the BJD members including Higher Education Minister Badri Narayan Patra tried to defend Majhi, saying that the Opposition party was opposing a tribal youth like Majhi.

"The Congress' double standard is now exposed by opposing a tribal youth (Majhi) to beome a graduate. The same Congress members were yestreday demanding reservation for tribals in the proposed Xavier University," Higher Education Minister Badri Narayan Patra said.