NCP MLAs to file counter affidavit today

Bhubaneswar: Four NCP MLAs, who were allowed 10 days time by Odisha Assembly Speaker Pradip Kumar Amat during the hearing on April 12, will file their additional counter affidavit on Monday on membership disqualification issue.

Ex-NCP leader and Barachana legislator Amar Satapathy said, "We won't ask for more time tomorrow and present our views before the Speaker. He will take a call on the issue."

However, speculation is rife that today might not be the final date of hearing as the state NCP chief Utkal Keshari Parida is reportedly preparing to ask for more time to file a rejoinder.

"We will put forth rejoinder counter affidavit after going through respondents’ stance. If needed we may ask for more time from the Speaker," Parida said.

According to Speaker’s counsel Pitambar Acharya, both the parties in the case will be given fair chance to present their views. "As per law, during hearing the Speaker cannot rule out a party’s plea seeking time to file an affidavit," Acharya said.

Notably, the four MLAs who were elected to the Assembly in NCP ticket had quit the party and joined the BJD en masse on June 5 last year.

As Amat delayed to take a decision on the membership of four ex-NCP MLAs, the NCP's Parida filed a contempt petition in Odisha High Court on April 15 following which the court asked the Speaker to file a counter affidavit within seven days. The hearing on this case will be done on April 24.