Stalemate continues in Odisha assembly over BJP MLA's suicide bid on issue of paddy procurement

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(Eds:updating story with detail of all party meeting) Bhubaneswar, Mar 16 (PTI) The stalemate continued for the fourth consecutive day Tuesday in the Odisha Assembly over suicide attempt by a BJP MLA inside the House due to alleged mismanagement in paddy procurement,resulting in no transaction of business following ruckus created by agitating members of all the three major parties.

Two sittings of an all party meeting convened by Speaker S N Patro to break the deadlock failed to yield any result as opposition Congress and BJP walked out of the meeting.

There was no solution to the four-day long issue, a senior leader said after the meeting.

The Congress staged a walkout from the meeting and BJP too skipped the meeting midway as farmers issues were not taken up for discussion.

Leader of Opposition PK Naik of BJP said that the all party meeting wanted to discuss the BJDs demand of Subhas Panigrahis apology instead of the original issue of paddy procurement mismanagement.

The Deogarh MLA made the suicide bid inside the House on Friday by attempting to drink sanitiser over the farmers issue. Timely intervention of a fellow saffron party MLA and also some from BJD side had foiled Panigrahi's attempt.

The opposition is protesting against introduction of token system in the paddy procurement in Odisha as part of which farmers are given token for a fixed period of time during which they have to sale their grain in mandis.

The BJP has alleged that farmers have to wait for a longer period to sell their produce due to which the time limit of the token lapses.

'Let the farmer issue be discussed first and then talk on Panigrahis suicide bid in the house,' Naik said after walking out of the all party meeting.

Stating that Panigrahi will not tender apology until the issues of farmers are resolved, Naik said, 'We all 22 MLAs are ready to kneel down and beg apologise only after the paddy of farmers piled at different mandis across the state is bought.

'The government didnt take up the farmers issues and demanded Subash Panigrahy to beg apology. We rejected it and walked out of the meeting,' Naik said.

Congress whip Taraprasad Bahinipati, who was first to walk out of the all party meeting, said that the government must procure the entire paddy stock of farmers.

'We expected that the all party meeting will discuss the farmers issue, but the ruling party wanted to debate on the Panigrahis apology,' he said.

They (opposition members) have sought time to discuss among themselves. They will turn up for the next meeting. No other subject would be discussed until the matter which undermined the dignity of the assembly is resolved, government chief whip Pramila Mallick said.

While the parties are adamant on their respective demands, the house failed to transact any business for the fourth consecutive day Tuesday.

The scene of past three days was repeated during the day when the house assembled for the Quest Hour at 10.30 am.

The ruckus erupted with the BJD legislators and members of the opposition parties engaging in slogan shouting in the well of the assembly.

The treasury bench members demanded an apology over the BJP MLA's suicide attempt inside the assembly.

The BJD members were of the opinion that the suicide attempt by the BJP's Deogarh MLA has earned a bad name for the state and also tainted the image of the house.

'We will not allow the house to function until Panigrahi tenders apology,' the government chief whip said.

Leader of Opposition PK Naik rejected the BJD's demand and said that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik should apologise for his government's mismanagement over the procurement of paddy.

Congress members also staged a protest in the well of the house and demanded early procurement of paddy from all the farmers of the state.

'We will continue our protest unless farmers' grievances are addressed,' Congress whip Taraprasad Bahinipati said.

Unable to run the proceedings, speaker S N Patro adjourned the house several time and finally till Wednesday.

With no end in sight on the prevailing situation in the house, opposition BJP alleged that the ruling BJD is deliberately creating ruckus and playing the role of the opposition.

BJP whip Mohan Majhi said, 'It is the job of the opposition to highlight the governments failures and stage protests in the well of the house.

'But, it is strange that the ruling party is playing the role of opposition as its legislators, including Ministers, are protesting in the well of the house disrupting the proceedings.' Meanwhile, the BJP supported Panigrahi and said the party is 'proud' of its MLA who is ready to sacrifice his life for the causes of farmers.

This was stated by Odisha BJP in-charge D Purandeswari while speaking to a private news channel.

'We are proud of our MLA who stood solidly behind the farmers in distress for not being able to sell their paddy in mandis. He (MLA) is prepared to sacrifice his life for the causes of farmers,' she said.

On BJDs demand of Panigrahis apology for making a suicide bid inside the house, Purandeswari said, 'The government should beg apology as it failed to lift paddy in mandis, not our MLA.' PTI AAM SNS SNS