Despite attempts by the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) to shift the blame for the question paper leaks to the Congress leaders from Kalahandi, the Opposition continued to insist on the demand for the resignation of Minister of State for Higher Education Badrinarayan Patra holding him fully responsible for the situation.
The issue dominated the Assembly for the second consecutive day on Tuesday with the Opposition Congress members stalling the proceedings in the pre-lunch session demanding that the Minister should quit immediately. Raising the issue during zero hour, Congress member Santosh Singh Saluja accused Patra of being instrumental in the leak of question papers of the Plus-II examination and said it happened with his knowledge.
The Congress member alleged that the Minister’s son had a role in the posting of Debendra Behera as Deputy Secretary of the Council of Higher Secondary Education at Sambalpur. Behera was arrested in connection with the leak of English and physics question papers.
Besides English and physics, question papers of chemistry, mathematics and botany were also leaked, he said quoting newspaper reports. Saluja said the Minister has defied a ruling from Speaker Pradip Amat, who had directed him to give a statement on the question paper leak by Monday. His party colleague Naba Kishore Das also criticised the Minister for not abiding by the ruling of the Speaker.
The Speaker, however, clarified that there was no need for the Minister to make a statement as directed by him as he had given a statement in the House on Monday while replying to a debate on the admissibility of an adjournment motion notice. “Therefore, I do not feel that the Minister has defied my ruling,” the Speaker said.
Soon after the Speaker’s clarification, the Congress members trooped into the well of the House shouting slogans demanding the resignation of the Minister. The members continued with the slogan shouting despite the Speaker requesting them to return to their seats.
Amat adjourned the House till 3 pm as Opposition members continued to shout. Normalcy returned during the afternoon session after the lunch break.