Congress asks Naveen to quit on `dal scam` issue

Opposition Congress on Monday asked Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to resign as his government had been charged with feeding `rotten pulses` to children and pregnant women.

Last Updated: Feb 15, 2011, 00:17 AM IST

Bhubaneswar: Opposition Congress on Monday
asked Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to resign as his
government had been charged with feeding `rotten pulses` to
children and pregnant women.

Questioning the `moral yardstick` of Patnaik, the
leader of opposition Bhupinder Singh told reporters outside
the assembly "if Pramila Mallik could take moral
responsibility and resign as Minister of Women and Child
Development, why not the chief minister".

Singh, whose party boycotted the governor`s address on
opening of the budget session, said the same yardstick should
be used for others - against the Urban Development Minister
Badri Narayan Patra and School and Mass Education Minister
Pratap Jena - for their alleged involvement in another
scandal, `the coal scam`.

Mallik, who was WCD minister since 2004, had tendered
resignation on February 5, a day after the anti-corruption
vigilance department submitted its report to the government.

The chief minister, however, termed as unfortunate the
boycott of governor`s address by Congress and protest in the
assembly by BJP and implored the opposition "to behave in a
responsible manner" in view of the importance of the budget
session.

"Let me make it clear that anyone involved in supply
of substandard `dal` will face criminal proceedings," he said.

The government had already taken several steps to
improve the situation relating to supply of pulses to schools
and anganwadi centres, Patnaik said.

In another development, the state BJP leadership today
held a rally at Bhadrak demanding resignation of the chief
minister over the dal scam.

"We will demand Patnaik`s ouster both outside and
inside the assembly", BJP state President Jual Oram said.

Opposition Congress members also staged a silent
dharna in Berhampur town while the women wing of the party
announced its plan to gherao assembly over `dal` scam on
February 17.

PTI