BHUBANEWSWAR: Noting that democracy cannot function on the whims of one person, the Opposition Congress today accused Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik of not attending the Assembly except compulsory assignments and ignoring members' queries by often giving answers from written notes.
The allegations were made by Leader of the Opposition Narasingha Mishra while participating in a debate on the Odisha Appropriation Bill, 2015.
"Democracy cannot function on the whims of one person. We have created a history in Odisha. A Chief Minister rarely comes to the House, replies to debates from a written note without understanding the contents," Mishra said.
"He (Patnaik) has no respect for the Opposition and democracy. The House runs on his will and was stalled today by his party members and he did not even come," Mishra said.
Intensifying his attack, the Congress leader said Patnaik and his party members often say they (BJD) have been elected to the power four times in a row and rejected the Opposition.
"But, I would like to ask the voters whether they vote for Naveen Patnaik for not seating in the House, not intervening in debates and not answering questions of the Opposition," Mishra said.
Citing an instance of the previous session, he said the House approved an amendment in a Bill. But, the next day the government did not accept it and passed the legislation in absence of the Opposition.
"Is not it a dictatorial mind and undemocratic?" he asked.
"The Chief Minister probably does not know that a group dictates the House. Will democracy survive under this situation?" he said.
Stating that he does not support the Appropriation Bill as people have lost their confidence on the government that failed in all fronts, Mishra said "Teachers, students, farmers, Dalits, tribals, women and others are agitating against the government policies."
"Therefore, I say that there is a planning paralysis in the government," he said adding, the state was heading towards a financial crisis as different departments often say there were no funds for development works.
Senior BJD member and former finance minister Bed Prakash Agarwal rejected Mishra's allegation and said "If people have no confidence in the Chief Minister, how do they vote the BJD in increasing numbers?
"Last time we were 103, and this time the numbers have increased to 117. The Congress, which had 27 members in the 14th Assembly, is now reduced to 16 MLAs," Agarwal said.
The House later passed the Odisha Appropriation Bill, 2015.