Ruckus in Odisha Assembly over minister's official visit to Hyderabad with friends

Bhubaneswar, Nov 28 (PTI) The Odisha Assembly on Thursday witnessed noisy scenes and frequent adjournments as the opposition Congress demanded resignation of minister J P Panigrahi over his official visit to Hyderabad, allegedly with two women friends.

The minister of Tourism, Odia Language, Literature and Culture has been accused of misusing public money by taking two female friends on an official trip to attend the Odisha Tourism Road Show at Hyderabad.

The issue was raised in the Assembly by Leader of Opposition Pradipta Kumar Naik of the BJP.

He demanded a clarification from Panigrahi.

However, the Congress members intensified their demand, rushed to well of the House and created ruckus thus forcing Speaker S N Patro to adjourn the House several times.

Congress member Santosh Singh Saluja and Suresh Routrray strongly denounced the minister's alleged action and asked Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to dismiss Panigrahi from the council of ministers.

As Patro did not pay any heed towards the demand, the angry Congress members led by Taraprasad Bahinipati attempted to climb the speaker's podium and snatched away his mike.

Routray also ridiculed the minister's action of taking two women to an official programme.

Terming Panigrahi's alleged activities as 'not acceptable', Saluja said, 'Sarathi (self-styled godman) had gone to Hyderabad with one woman and was sent to jail.

Therefore, the same law should also be applied to the minister who took two women along with him to Hyderabad.' Saluja pointed out that the women, a 47-year-old woman and her 25-year-old daughter, had accompanied the minister and stayed in a luxury hotel in Hyderabad.

'The private secretary of the minister had booked tickets for the women and arranged their stay in the hotel,' Saluja said in the Assembly.

'I have not violated any rule. Let me clarify that not a single pie has been spent from the state exchequer,' Tourism Minister J P Panigrahi said after the House was adjourned till afternoon. PTI AAM SBN SBN