Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The Speaker of Orissa Legislative Assembly has rejected the notice of no confidence against the Chief Minister on the ground of paucity of time. In fact, the Assembly is in the last days of its life. This is the session, which, if not extended, after three days, will compose for itself its requiem as every Assembly in the last day of the session preceding normal dissolution does. So, the adopted time schedule for the session does not encourage the Speaker to admit a no confidence motion against the CM. We find no fault in the Speaker in refusing the Notice.

But the Speaker would do disservice to democracy if he does not summon Samir De to the Hall of the House with binding direction to elaborate as to why has he alleged that Chief minister Navin Patnaik has hijacked the Cuttack Municipal Corporation by using black money in electioneering.

De was a minister when he raised this allegation. He has resigned after the poll debacle that his party BJP faced in CMC election specifically as he was in charge of his party campaign, himself representing the constituency comprising this city in the Assembly. And, since then he has not participated in the Assembly session.

His allegation about use of black money by Chief Minister Navin Patnaik to procure votes for BJD candidates in CMC was not a private allegation. It was an official allegation raised by De when he was in office as a Minister and was vested with the authority to safe guard democracy. So his allegation cannot be sloughed over by the Speaker when the House is in session and his duty is to make the Government answerable to the House.

In the circumstances, the minimum that one can expect of the Speaker is that he must summon Samir to the hall of the House and ask him to confirm or disown the allegation of black money use by the CM in CMC elections which the media, specifically electronic media has attributed to him on records and on the basis of his reply, should take the next logical step to ask Navin Patnaik to put forth his side of the story.

Let there be no admission of no-confidence motion against the Chief Minister if time does not permit; but let the Assembly not die with the smear of black money pasted on the face of its leader.

The Assembly deserves a dignified death.

As we know it cannot live beyond its constitutional life span, let us not allow the future to look at it as a nasty Assembly that died while bearing with the allegation that its leader had used black money to win Municipal wards.

Hence, let the Speaker summon Samir De to the Hall instantly and take his statement to records and if he confirms his allegation, let Navin Patnaik counter or confess the same.

Let the obituary for this Assembly not be written in filthy terms.

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