Cong MLAs on dharna, BJP members also protest BJD attack

Odisha Assembly on Friday witnessed noisy scenes with the Congress members staging a dharna in the Well of the House demanding action against BJD members who attacked their chief whip, while BJP MLAs stood in protest accusing the ruling BJD legislators of "attacking" the opposition.

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Assembly on Friday witnessed noisy scenes with the Congress members staging a dharna in the Well of the House demanding action against BJD members who attacked their chief whip, while BJP MLAs stood in protest accusing the ruling BJD legislators of "attacking" the opposition.

After being disrupted since morning, the House was adjourned for the day in the post-lunch session when angry Congress members tried to climb to the Speaker's podium and uprooted his mike demanding assurance from the Chief Minister on their safety and security in the House.

Congress MLAs led by the Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra sat on a dharna in Well after the lunch break as the Speaker did not take any action against BJD members who allegedly "manhandled" Congress chief whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati.

Earlier, as soon as the House assembled for the day, the BJD members rushed towards the Opposition benches, caught hold of Congress chief whip Bahinipati and tried to prevent him from displaying a banner as Congress MLAs were protesting from their seats.

The treasury bench members asked Congress MLAs to stop sloganeering against the Chief Minister and pointed out that the matter relating to the Prakash Mishra vigilance case could not be discussed as per decision of the Speaker.

"Ruling BJD members at the instruction of the Chief Minister rushed to the Opposition benches. Congress members were protesting from their seats and did not move to the Well. Is it desirable to grab an opposition member and manhandle him in the House in presence of the CM and Speaker?" asked Mishra.

Stating that the Opposition members were feeling

insecured in the House, Mishra demanded an apology from the Chief Minister and an assurance from the Speaker.

As the Speaker did not give any assurance, Congress MLAs sat on dharna in the Well.

When Mishra and Congress MLAs were sitting on dharna, the Speaker allowed some members from the BJD to speak on a point of order.

However, Speaker Niranjan Pujari later admitted that he should not have given permission to any member to speak in the House when the Leader of Opposition was sitting on dharna in the Well.

"This should not have happened," Pujari said.

With Pujari admitting he would not allow any one to speak during the dharna, Congress members withdrew their agitation and returned to their seats, but stuck to their demand of an assurance from the Speaker and the CM.

As the Speaker ignored their demand, agitating Congress members again rushed to the Well, while some of them attempted to climb the Speaker's podium and Bahinipati was seen uprooting the Speaker's mike.

Later Bahinipati alleged outside the House that BJD members overpowered him from behind by clutching his arms, while somebody even tried to strangle him.

"For a while, I thought I could get killed," he alleged.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik made a statement on Nuapada killing amid the din with the opposition members raising slogans and the Speaker adjourning the House till tomorrow soon after the CM's statement.

BJP members also condemned the behaviour of the ruling BJD and raised questions on the safety and security of members in the House.

They too protested by standing on their seats when Congress members shouted anti-government slogans.

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