UNPRECEDENTED ACRIMONY IN ORISSA ASSEMBLY: THANKS GIVING STALLED

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Unprecedented acrimony between both the sides rocked Orissa Assembly to the extent of postponement of customary vote of thanks on the Governor’s address.

Pending reply of the Chief Minister to the debate on Kalinga Nagar massacre, the Housed resumed today, 13 Feb. 06, with the agenda to propose thanks to the Governor. But before proceeding with the agenda, bulging bags of unknown contents carried into the hall by Congress members Anup Sai and three others made the treasury bench squawk. The House Marshall was pressed into action. He tried to take away the bag under possession of Sri Sai, but in vain. Sai dragged the bag into the well of the House and tried to put it on the Reporters’ table. BJD heavyweight Pradipta Maharathi tried to obstruct and in the irascibility it provoked, member Ravi Mallick fell down on the floor and the bag unknotted, coughing out coins of marginal denominations. Vinod Patra, Nimai Sircar and Debasish Patnaik heaped coins on the tale. There was heaps of coin, on the Reporters’ table and on the floor of the well. This is the money the Congress members, subjected to cash penalty by the speaker, were depositing in presence of all the members when the House was in session, they declared. Speaker Maheswar Mohanty adjourned the House under the embarrassing situation.

Criticizing the Congress for causing such chaos in the House, Maharathi later underlined that there should be stringent laws to prohibit such foul play.

Is it a foul play? Asks Deputy Leader of Opposition, Narasingh Misra. The Speaker had passed an unprecedented order of cash penalty on the MLAs on the floor of the House. He had refused to relent also on the floor of the House. Hence the penalty money was to be deposited on the floor of the House. There was no reason to refuse the deposit. The Speaker could have accepted the money through his officials after that was placed on the floor. The money was in coin form because Congress supporters from all over the State had contributed the fine money as a mark of solidarity with their leaders. The Speaker, as he had issued orders for cash collection from the members against their role in the floor of the House, should have asked his officers to take the money from there under receipt. The Government was well aware of the contribution of the entire fine money by members of the public and that the same was going to be deposited was also known to Government through intelligence. The government, scared as it is to face the Opposition in course of thanks giving to the Governor, was eager to buy a day for which members of the treasury bench were prompted to obstruct the deposit and to whip up acrimony, Mishra alleged.

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