Speaker allows Choudhury to continue as MLA

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Legislative Assembly (OLA) Speaker Pradip Kumar Amat on Wednesday rejected a petition of the BJP and allowed the party`s suspended MLA Bhimsen Choudhury to continue as a legislator of Bonai assembly segment. "I have dismissed the petition of Karendra Majhi, secretary of the BJP`s Legislature Party who sought disqualification of Bhimsen Choudhury as the members of the OLA," Amat told reporters after hearing arguments of both the sides.

The Bonai MLA was accused of helping the ruling BJD candidate in the 2010 Rajya Sabha elections by abstaining from voting. While BJP was supporting Independent candidate Tara Ranjan Patnaik in the Rajya Sabha polls, 2010, Choudhury preferred to remain absent. Alleging horse trading in the Rajya Sabha elections, the state unit of the BJP placed Choudhury under suspension and requested the Speaker to disqualify his membership.

However, the Speaker allowed Choudhury to continue as the MLA. The state BJP challenged their Speaker`s ruling in this regard and sought High Court`s intervention. The High Court in its ruling asked the Speaker to take a decision on the petition of the BJP MLA Kerendra Majhi.

Choudhury welcomed the verdict of the Speaker. "The Speaker`s verdict is constitutional and justified," he said. Majhi, on the other hand said "I have not seen copy of the order given by the Speaker. However, the BJP will again move the High Court."