Let Biswabhusan of BJP lead the coalition in greater interest of Orissa.

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Orissa Assembly, in the midst of budget session has broken down. It could not conduct its business today. It was not a case of stonewalling; it was a case of continuous abandonment of the Chair by the Speaker. Never before the Assembly had experienced such a self-killing melancholy.

It is a shame that the Chief Minister has failed so measurably in leading the State that his own party MLAs have pushed the rampart of democracy into the fold of mobocracy in the matter of a lady marshal versus the Speaker.

We have suggested that the lady marshal should be first subjected to a polygraph test in order to scientifically determine as to whether she is telling the truth in raising allegation of sexual harassment against the Speaker; specifically as she has raised this allegation while facing charges for repeated dereliction in duty. If she is found to have told the truth, the ruling coalition should ask the Speaker to step down pending penal action. This being a case of honor of a lady and honor of a democracy, prompt medico-legal action for determination of the truth is seriously needed. But the Chief Minister is too confused and deficient in political acumen to proceed in right direction.

It is shocking that the CM has declared to take action against the Speaker if he would be found guilty in an inquiry to be conducted. Subjecting a Speaker to investigations by a Police team or a House Committee or a Probe Commission is detrimental to the dignity of the highly esteem office he holds. Even if the investigation remains impartial, the Speaker would continue to be looked at askance in case he gets a clean chit and that would be more harmful for democracy. So, in such instances, where a delinquent lady raises allegation of sexual harassment against the person under whose orders she has been subjected to disciplinary proceedings, the lady must be tested first with a lie dictator in order to know if she is not playing tricks to frame up the disciplinary authority and to derail the proceedings. Otherwise, in no office where women work, discipline can be maintained. If polygraph test indicates that the lady is not telling a lie, political functionaries like the Speaker must forthwith be sacked by way of political action and then, the Government can proceed to prosecute him for the crime. Chief Minister Navin Patnaik has failed to understand this point.

His reluctance to proceed promptly and diligently has encouraged publicity mongers and chaosists to rule the roost. House has collapsed before passing of the budget. As the leader of the House it was his duty and responsibility to convince the Opposition on the correctness of action he is taking; but instead, he has used confrontational stances.

The Opposition under its politically more astute leaders had taken steps today to ensure that the chair abandoned by the Speaker remains free of occupation by others. Technically they were right as the Speaker, while abandoning his chair, had not expressed from his podium any authorization to any other member including the Deputy Speaker to chair the House. So, the business of the day could not commence and the session collapsed. It could have resumed only if the Speaker would have returned to his chair. But in the afternoon, a member of the presidium, encircled by women members of the ruling coalition, tried to force-occupy the Speaker’s chair sans authority and precipitated a free-for-all situation wherein, according to the women members, modesty was the casualty.

It became clear that instead of protecting democracy, the government wants protection under mobocracy.

Such ruin had never visited Orissa.

The Chief Minister should admit that it would have been better had he more experience in politics. The ruling coalition should admit this too and change the leadership. The State is in a crisis. To overcome the crisis, the ruling coalition should search for a more experienced member from its within in order to replace Navin. If I could have any role to play politically, I would have suggested that Biswabhusan Harichandan of BJP should replace Navin. The BJP strongman is not known of any specific corruption, He is more experienced in politics and is an accomplished expert in Law and more importantly, he is regarded as a strongman of Oriya nationality. The BJD should admit that though Biju sycophants are in abundance in its fold, there is none amongst its members to be chosen as a Chief Minister. Therefore, in order to save Orissa from the ongoing and ever increasing political turmoil, it should prevail upon Navin to invite the BJP stalwart to head a collective leadership.

If BJD adjusts it ego, the State may be saved.

It seems legally sound that the Assembly needs to be called afresh by the Governor to pass the budget. But by then Navin should not be in the CM chair to further mar its march under confusion.

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