BJP MLAs urge governor to return bills for thorough discussion in assembly

·4-min read

(Eds: Adding BJP delegation's meeting with governor) Bhubaneswar, Apr 4 (PTI) Upset over alleged denial of their legitimate rights by assembly Speaker S N Patro, 12 BJP MLAs met Governor Ganeshi Lal on Sunday and requested him to return the six bills passed in the House without participation of the opposition on the concluding day of the budget session.

The BJP legislators, led by Leader of Opposition P K Naik, apprised the governor of the circumstances under which the ruling BJD due to its brute majority in the 147-member House passed the bills, including the Odisha Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill, without hearing the opinion of the opposition MLAs on Saturday.

They also said that the Speaker had allegedly provoked the lawmakers of the saffron party to disrupt the proceedings of the House by not allowing the Leader of Opposition to speak on the bills.

'We have apprised the governor on how the bills were passed in an undemocratic manner and the Leader of Opposition and BJP members were denied of their legitimate rights by not being given opportunity to speak in the House. The Speaker acted in a biased manner instead of being neutral,' Naik told reporters after meeting the governor.

The Leader of Opposition alleged that the Speaker was functioning in a partisan manner and was running the House under the direction of the ruling BJD.

Slippers, microphones and documents crumpled up into balls had landed near the Speaker's podium on Saturday, as the BJP members raged over the passage of a bill without discussion, provoking the Speaker to suspend three of them and order their immediate exit from the chamber.

Replying to a question, Naik said there was no point in seeking apology in the House, as demanded by the ruling party, after suspension of BJP deputy leader in the House B C Sethi, Mohan Majhi, the party's whip, and MLA J N Mishra for the duration of the entire session.

The suspended MLAs said that they have no remorse for hurling slippers and paper missiles that landed near the Speaker's podium.

They accused Speaker Patro of 'provoking' them by quoting some satirical Odia proverbs when the BJP lawmakers were agitating in the House after being denied an opportunity to speak.

The BJP lawmakers staged an overnight dharna near the statue of Mahatma Gandhi on the assembly campus protesting the suspension of the three MLAs and passage of the bills without the participation of the Opposition.

They withdrew the stir on Sunday morning following a request by the BJPs Odisha Saha Prabhari, Vijay Pal Singh Tomar.

Mishra, one of the suspended BJP MLAs, also asked why was the House adjourned on earlier occasions, when the Opposition used to raise issues pertaining to mining scam and the deteriorating law and order situation.

Asked to justify the act of hurling slippers towards Speakers podium, Mishra said, 'We are also humans. How can one resist when the Speaker himself provokes the opposition members at the behest of the BJD?' Noting that it is natural that anyone will agitate if he/she is denied of his/her legitimate rights, Mishra said, 'The Speaker has denied us of our rights as MLAs.' Asked whether BJP is planning any impeachment move against the Speaker, Mishra said, 'We do not have the numbers.

While the BJP has 22 MLAs in the 147-member Odisha assembly, it requires at least 25 members to make such a move.

'However, if Congress members support the issue, there should be no hesitation in this regard.' The Congress has nine MLAs while the ruling BJDs strength in the House is 113, There is one member from the CPI(M) and an Independent MLA in the Assembly, while one seat remains vacant.

Raising questions on the neutrality of the Speaker, BJP whip Mohan Charan Majhi said, 'The manner in which he (Speaker) disallowed the Opposition members from participating in the discussion during the passage of the bills makes it evident that he is being dictated by the treasury bench.' He demanded an apology from the Speaker for not being impartial.

CLP leader Narasingha Mishra, who met the agitating BJP MLAs at the dharna site, came down heavily on members of the treasury bench over what happened in the House on Saturday.

'I strongly condemn the manner in which they passed the bills in the House yesterday without allowing the opposition members to participate in the discussion. This is grossly undemocratic and unconstitutional,' he said. PTI AAM MM MM