BJD demands MLA s apology for suicide attempt inside Assembly, BJP asks CM to express regret

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Bhubaneswar, Mar 15 (PTI) The attempt by a BJP MLA to commit suicide inside the Odisha Assembly over alleged mismanagement in paddy procurement echoed in for the third consecutive day on Monday and Speaker S N Patro adjourneed proceedings till the post-lunch session in the wake of noisy protests by ruling BJD members and opposition parties.

As soon as the House assembled for question hour at 10.30 am, pandemonium erupted with lawmakers of the ruling BJD and opposition parties engaging in slogan shouting in the well of the House.

Unable to continue with the proceedings, Patro first adjourned the House till 11.30 am and later till the post lunch session at 4 pm.

The treasury bench members demanded unconditional apology from BJP MLA Subhas Panigrahi for attempting suicide in the House on Friday, while the saffron party members asked Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to express regret for his government's 'inability' to ensure smooth procurement of paddy from farmers despite assurances.

The BJD members led by party general secretary (organisation) and Jajpur MLA P P Das, trooped into the well of the House and demanding apology from the Deogarh lawmaker for creating a bad precedent by attempting suicide inside the House.

We will not allow the House to function till the BJP MLA tenders apology. He has brought down the dignity of the august House. The BJP members are trying to take political advantage by making such an (suicide bid) attempt, Government Chief Whip Pramila Mallick told reporters outside the House.

Panigrahi had on Friday attempted to take his lifeby drinking sanitizer in the House while protesting against the state governments alleged apathy towards farmers who are not being able to sell their paddy in mandis across the state.

Patro had said outside the House on Saturday that the BJP MLA should tender an apology for commiting a mistake by attempting suicide in the House. He had also said that Panigrahi should apologise to bring back normalcy in the House.

Monday was the second day that the ruling BJD, which has 113 members in the 137-seat House stalled the proceedings demanding that the BJP MP apologises for his act.

Leader of Opposition P K Naik of BJP said there was no question of his party colleague apologising. 'Instead the chief minister should regret his government's failure to address the genuine problems faced by the farmers, who are not able to sell their paddy in mandis despite the government's assurance.

Naik also sought clarification from the chief minister on why the ministers staged agitation in the House on Friday.

'Is ministers' protest in the well of the House in accordance with dignity of the House? Let the people decide how the House is run here. There is no attempt to bring back normalcy. The speaker has not convened an all-party meeting despite ruckus for the third consecutive day, he said.

Naik also denounced Patros remark outside the House.

The speaker should tender an apology for his statement outside the House and giving the opinion that the BJP member should apologise.

Hitting out at the chief minister, Naik said 'He is visiting Puri, Sundergarh and Nuapada, but avoiding the House on the pretext of corona.

Tokens issued to the farmers for paddy procurement have lapsed but the government has not procured paddy from them, he said.

Congress whip Taraprasad Bahinipati, who displayed some placards in the House, blamed both BJD and BJP for the situation.

These people are making a farce out of the miseries of the farmers who are attempting suicide. Even an MLA also made such a bid in the House. It is laughable that both BJD and BJP are demanding apology from each other, while farmers problems are not addressed, he said.

Bahinipati said that both BJD and BJP are cheating the people and Congress will not allow the House to function unless farmers' paddy are totally procured by the government.