Impasse over in Assembly after Maharathy begs pardon

Bhubaneswar: The three-day long stalemate in Odisha Assembly over use of abusive words against a woman MLA ended this evening after Agriculture minister Pradip Maharathy tendered an apology at an all-party meeting chaired by Speaker Niranjan Pujari here.

“Agriculture Minister Pradip Maharathy expressed deep anguish over the incident and assured not to repeat the same in future. He addressed the lady MLA as a sister and tendered apology,” Speaker Pujari announced in the assembly which was adjourned at least eight time during the day over the issue.

BJP MLA from Brajrajnagar Radharani Panda, who staged dharna in well demanding action against Maharathy said: “I have called off agitation in the assembly in view of the larger interest of the state. As business of the House is affected due to my agitation, I called it off. The minister tendered apology in presence of leaders of different parties.”

“The Speaker has also assured me that there should be no threat to my life,” Radharani said expressing concern over the silence of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik over the issue of humiliation of a woman law maker inside the House.

“Though I staged dharna in well of the House for three days, there has been no word of sympathy from the chief minister. This shows the Chief minister’s attitude towards the dignity of women at large,” Radharani said in a chocked voice.

Claiming that she was all along been right when the minister had been denying allegation, Radharani said: “I would have been happy had the minister tendered apology in the House. But, I did not press the demand in the interest of the state.”

“Let the Chief Minister decide whether the persons who use such words against women should continue in the ministry,” Radharani told reporters replying a question.

However, Panda said she has not forgiven the minister who used such abusive language when she was raising her voice.

Panda had launched her sit-in in front of the Speaker’s podium since Thursday while her party colleagues raised slogans demanding action against Maharathy.

Maharathy, however, said he tendered apology to Radharani in order to ensure that the functioning of the assembly is not affected. “Keeping in view the in interest of four crore people of Odisha, I had to make another sacrifice,” said Maharathy.

While the BJP MLAs sat in dharna along with Radharani in Well, opposition Congress also shouted demanding action against the minister who used abusive words against the lady member. Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra of Congress strongly backed the lady MLA and wrote two letters to the Speaker to resolve the issue immediately.