BHUBANESWAR: Winter session of the State Assembly started Wednesday on a rocky note with MLAs of Opposition Congress staging dharna at the entry gates to prevent entry of Minister of State for Home, Dibya Shankar Mishra into the House.
The Congress legislators also locked the main gate in protest. The party has been demanding Mishra’s ouster from the Council of Ministers as well as his arrest for alleged links with Gobinda Sahu, prime accused in the sensational Mamita Meher murder.
The Congress lawmakers, led by Taraprasad Bahinipati, sat at the entry point of the Assembly holding placards. “We will not allow Mishra to destroy the sanctity of the Assembly which is a temple of democracy,” Bahinpati told mediapersons. The Minister of State for Home, however, reached the Assembly before the Congress legislators could sit on dharna.
Members of the BJP, the principal Opposition party in the Assembly, urged Speaker SN Patro not to allow Mishra to participate in the House proceedings. They also protested outside the chamber of the Speaker for allowing the Minister into the House.
Amid Opposition protest, the House assembled for the day as scheduled while Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik attended the proceedings from his residence through virtual mode. This evoked strong reaction from the Opposition. Coming down heavily on Naveen for his stoic silence on the sensitive issue, senior Congress member Santosh Singh Saluja said the CM is visiting all districts to distribute smart health cards under Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY) but avoiding the Assembly.
He has made Assembly sessions a mockery by participating in virtual mode, he said. When the proceedings started after the obituary motion, the Opposition members trooped to the well of the House and raised slogans against Mishra, demanding his ouster. Congress MLAs also flashed placards. Speaker Patro adjourned the House till 5 pm due to lack of order. Later when the first supplementary budget of the current financial year was tabled by Finance Minister Niranjan Pujari, the Opposition members again raised protests.
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.
Earlier, members cutting across partylines condoled deaths of for mer deputy Speaker Prahallad Dora, former MLAs Umesh Swain and Ramray Munda, sepoy Sitaram Murmu and a Covid warrior.