New Speaker, New precedent: Speaker SN Patro calls first-ever all party meet

Bhubaneswar: Setting a new precedent, the newly elected speaker of the 16th Odisha Legislative Assembly, veteran BJD leader Surjya Narayan Patro, in a first, has convened an all party meeting prior to the commencement of the budget session of the new assembly.

The all-party meet is likely to be held on June 24 as the Budget Session of the 16th Assembly commences from June 25.

“Post the 2019 elections, the assembly session is set to resume after a long break. As a Speaker, it’s my duty to ensure proper and intense debate and discussion on public-oriented issues. In order to see the House functions smoothly, I have decided to convene an all party meeting prior to the beginning of the new assembly,” informed Surjya Patro.

The opposition BJP and Congress have welcomed the decision. Both parties have lamented that taking the opposition into confidence should have been the norm in earlier assembly sessions also.

Former leader of Opposition and veteran Congressman Narisingha Mishra welcomed the decision. BJP leader Jayanaryan Mishra also termed it as good for democracy.

Both added that Indian Parliament follows such healthy tradition since long. Odisha Speaker should have initiated such healthy practice much earlier. However, they said it’s important to see what discussions take place in the first ever all-party meet convened by the Speaker SN Patro.

In the history of Odisha Legislative, such all-party meets happened only when disruptions stalled functioning of the House.

However, the buzz doing the rounds is as the 16th Odisha Legislative Assembly has witnessed a rise in opposition numbers, especially the numerical strength of BJP, the Speaker’s all-party meet decision is being construed as a masterstroke in political circles.

In the new Assembly, BJP has 23 MLAs and Congress has 9 MLAs. Though the number of opposition appears minnow before the 112 strong ruling BJD, presence of stalwarts like Jaynarayan Mishra, Pradipta Naik, Bishnu Sethi, Subhas Panigrahi and Mohan majhi in BJP camp and Veterans like Narasingha Mishra, Tara Bahinipati, Santosh Saluja and Suresh Routray in Congress camp can make the first session of the new Assembly a stormy one.