BHUBANESWAR: The winter session of the Odisha Assembly started on a rocky note on Wednesday with opposition Congress MLAs staging a dharna at one of the gates of the Odisha Assembly to prevent the entry of Minister of State for Home Dibya Shankar Mishra into the House.
The Congress has been demanding Mishra's ouster from the Council of Ministers and arrest for his alleged link with the prime accused in the Kalahandi woman teacher's murder.
In order to prevent the entry of Mishra, Congress lawmakers led by Taraprasad Bahinipati sat at the entry point of the Assembly holding placards demanding the minister's removal and his arrest.
"We would not allow Mishra to destroy the sanctity of the Assembly which is a temple of democracy," Bahinpati told reporters.
Coming down heavily on Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for his stoic silene on the sensitive issue, senior Congress member Santosh Singh Saluja said the former is going to all districts to distribute the health smart cards under Biju Swasthya
Kalyan Yojana (BSKY) but not coming to the Assembly. He has made the Assembly sessions a mockery by participating in virtual mode, he said.
However, Mishra was stated to have reached the Assembly ahead of the Congress dharna at the main gates.
Members of the BJP, the principal opposition party in the Assembly, urged Speaker S N Patro not to allow Mishra to participate in the proceedings due to his alleged involvement in the murder case.
The opposition members made a protest outside the chamber of the Speaker for allowing the minister to the proceedings of the house for the day.
Amid opposition protest, the House assembled for the day as scheduled and the Chief Minister attended the proceedings from his residence through virtual mode.
Members cutting across party lines condoled the death of three former members of the Assembly, a sepoy and corona warrior who passed away recently.
The Speaker allowed the obituary reference moved by the Chief Minister from his residence. The CM expressed his profound grief over the death of former Deputy Speaker Prahallad Dora, former MLAs Umesh Swain and Ramray Munda, sepoy Sitaram Murmu and a Covid warrior.
The CM was followed by deputy leader of BJP in the house Bishnu Sethi and leader of Congress legislature party Narsingha Mishra in paying obeisance to these departed souls.
After the Assembly paid tributes to the departed souls, the Speaker adjourned the House till 5pm due to lack of order.
The first supplementary budget of the current financial year will be tabled by Finance Minister Niranjan Pujari later in the day.
Official business will be transacted from December 2 to 6 while private members' business (bills and resolutions) will be tabled on December 3.
Discussion on demand for grants for the first supplementary statement of expenditure for 2021-22 will be held from December 7, followed by discussion and approval of the Appropriation Bill.