Impasse in Odisha Assembly, house stalled for 5th day

Bhubaneswar: An impasse in the Odisha assembly over a debate on the farmers' issue paralysed the House for fifth consecutive day today as both the ruling BJD and opposition Congress stuck to their respective stands.

As soon as the House assembled for the day, Congress members rushed to the well demanding a debate on the farmers' plight owing to different reasons. Their protest continued for the fifth day today against rejection of their notice on an adjournment motion on the issue by the speaker, Pradip Kumar Amat.

While Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh of Congress raised the issue, his partymen rushed to the well shouting slogans against the state government.

"The state government is afraid of a debate on farmers issue," Singh alleged.

The House, however, smoothly conducted the question hour after the speaker invited the agitating opposition MLAs for an all party meeting in his chamber.

The house witnessed repeated adjournments and finally was adjourned for the day as the all-party meeting failed to resolve the issue.

"The discussion remained inconclusive," the speaker told reporters after the meeting.

While Congress demands a debate under certain clause under which at least three ministers – agriculture, cooperation and food supplies – need to reply to one adjournment motion, the treasury bench is opposed to it.

"We also want a discussion on the farmers issue. But the Congress has to give notice under different rules so that one minister will reply to the debate and not three," said parliamentary affairs minister Kalpataru Das.

Citing a previous instance, Singh said there was nothing wrong if two or three ministers reply to a debate on one subject. "The ministers for agriculture and food supplies had given statements in reply to one adjurnment motion on farmers suicide cases on February 15, 2008," Singh pointed out.

As both the parties remained firm on their points, the Speaker adjourned the house.

The winter session of Odisha assembly which began on November 27 was adjourned after making obituary reference to former governor B Satyanarayan Reddy and again on December 1 mourning the demise of former Prime Minister I K Gujral.

November 28 and December 2 were holidays. On the other days, no business was possible except presentation of supplemantary budget by finance minister Prasanna Acharya amid uproar on November 29.