Surjya Patro elected Odisha Assembly Speaker

Bhubaneswar: Senior BJD leader and Digapahandi MLA Surjya Narayan Patro was elected as Speaker of the 16th Odisha Assembly on Saturday. The formal process for electing the Speaker began on Friday with a notice to this effect being issued by the Secretary of the State Assembly.

BJD supremo and chief minister Naveen Patnaik had proposed Patro’s name for the Speaker post, which was seconded by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Bikram Keshari Arukha.

As per convention, BJD leader Amar Prasad Satpathy was earlier appointed pro-tem Speaker.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and senior Congress leader Narasingha Mishra congratulated Patro for being elected as the Speaker.

After being elected Speaker, Patro requested all the members of the legislative assembly to come together to fulfil the dreams of the people by upholding the dignity of the House.

Senior Congress leader Narasingha Mishra said his party will respect the mandate of the people.

“People choose leaders, so if they have not elected us as the Chief Opposition, then we will have to respect that. But you all will see how we work as an Opposition party in the coming days,” said Mishra.

The Congress veteran also added, “I hope as the Speaker of the House, Surjya Patro will ensure safety to the Opposition. Congress was efficiently and dutifully carrying out its responsibilities of an Opposition in the past and it will also continue to do it in the future.”

As the ruling BJD has 112 MLAs, the election to the post of Speaker of the house has turned a mere formality. In Parliamentary tradition, member from ruling party always adorns the Speaker post. The BJP had won 23 Assembly seats followed by nine seats by Congress in the recently concluded Odisha elections 2019.

Meanwhile, as speculations continue to build up over the absence of several BJP MLAs during the election of the Speaker, BJP MLA, K Narayan Rao refuted any kind of party decision behind the move. “Many party leaders are still in Delhi so they could not attend the House,” he clarified.

With several veteran leaders of Congress like Narasingha Misgra, Tara Bahinipati, Suresh Routray and Opposition BJP’s Jaynarayan Mishra, Bishnu Sethi, Pradipta Panigrahy, Mohan Majhi among others getting elected to the House, experts opine that it would be a challenge for seven-time MLA Surjya Patro to smoothly run the business in the House.

Patro now has a huge challenge in front of him as the House prepares for the first budget under the new government, the session  for which is likely to begin from the third week of June.