Odisha Budget Session: Bedlam prevails on Day 2, House adjourned 7 times!

The storm over rules has paralysed the House for the second day. Observers think a diffusible issue has been handled in such a way that it acquired the shape  of storm. Manuals mandate officers attendance

Bhubaneswar: Storm in Odisha Legislative Assembly is yet to subside. The House first adjourned till 11:30. Following the din, post resuming of proceedings, Speaker had to adjourn the House for as many as 6 times. In order to break the deadlock, Speaker has convened an all-party meeting in the evening today.

A day already washed out. Today, half of the day’s sitting already lost. The big point to note here is each minute of the session costs nearly 1 crore. How?

Consider this. Because, as per ballpark estimates by the Assembly Secretariat, each MLA was given Rs 800/day as DA plus travel allowance  from their respective constituencies to Bhubaneswar @ Rs10/km. Sources said around Rs 1.5 lakh spent on this account on the Day 1. Also, Rs 3000 spent on every question asked in Assembly.  So, how staggering the loss now is anybody’s guess.

Now, why the State Assembly stands paralysed? In fact, storm brewed over absence of officers in Official gallery, says Congress leader Taraprasad Bahinipati.

“As per rules, I pointed to the Speaker about the absence of officers in official gallery. I tried to draw Speaker’s attention to the violation of House rules. But Speaker gave a ruling that put an embargo on media coverage of the furore at the floor of the House at that hour, ” said Bahinipati.

LOP and BJP leader Pradipta Naik said, ” Speaker should have instructed officers to attend the session, instead an embargo was clamped on media coverage. For which, BJP members protested the ‘unconstitutional’ ruling of the Speaker.”

Now, the moot point is, this is  a storm over a tea cup or has inherent trigger factors?

Let’s have a fact check:  Consider what the Manual of Parliamentary Procedures in the Government of India says,

In Sec 1:7, regarding presence of officers in the official gallery, the manual has very clear rules.

First, it said officer of the Ministry/Department shall be present in the Official Gallery in regard to different kinds of business, and which are to be laid down by departmental instructions.

Why officers’ presence mandated? Because, the manual says “The officer of the Ministry/Department present in the Official Gallery should have with him all the relevant papers, including a duplicate of the set of papers submitted to the Minister.

The Manual has a clear rule that mandate the need of “A roster of officers to be drawn up to attend Parliament during general debates concerning all Ministries/ Departments, such as budget, President’s address, etc., expected to last for several hours (or even days) to note down points of interest to the Ministry/Department. Copies of the notes taken should reach the Secretary and Minister concerned the same evening. Briefs will be prepared on those points which require a reply.”

It is this rule violation, the Opposition in State Assembly have alleged. And the storm kicked off.

This is simply storm over rules or has any politics behind?  Since Assembly session is run by politicians. So politics is inherent in every step and actions here.

The politics is the Congress Party wants to fire at CM Naveen Patnaik over the shoulders of Officers.

The statement of Tara that there is Officer Raj in the State, but we will not let the Officer Raj encroach the Assembly, attests to the Congress game plan.

The Bottom line is Speaker could have easily defused the situation there and then with a simple direction. But by giving the opposition a handle to beat, made this trifle issue a big one that goes on to disrupt the proceedings in House for second day too.

When seen through political prism, then the Round 1 has been seemingly won by Opposition. Because, they successfully hoisted an attack on CM via the ‘Officer raj’.