Bhubaneswar: Deadlock in Orissa assembly
continued for the fifth day today as opposition Congress and
BJP MLAs boycotted proceedings demanding resignation of two
ministers for their alleged involvement in the multi-crore
linkage coal scam.
While speaker Pradip Kumar Amat conducted business of
the house till 11.50 before adjourning it twice till 3 pm, the
opposition Congress members sat on a dharna in front of
Mahatma Gandhi statue in the assembly premises.
Question hour and zero hour passed off smoothly when
ministers including chief minister Naveen Patnaik replied
several questions asked by members of the treasury bench.
The lone CPI MLA, four NCP members and Bhimsen
Choudhury, suspended by BJP for defying whip during June 17
Rajya Sabha polls, however, remained present in the house
besides the MLAs and ministers of the ruling BJD.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Raghunath Mohanty and
NCP legislature party leader Amar Satpathy suggested to the
Speaker to conduct an all party meeting at his chamber to
convince the opposition members to return to house as Chief
Minister had already given reply on the coal scam.
"Boycotting the house is not a healthy tradition,"
Mohanty said adding that opposition members should participate
in the proceedings of the house.
Meanwhile, though opposition Congress and BJP members
attended the all party meeting at the speaker`s chamber, they
strongly criticised the government over absence of Chief
Minister, who was leader of the house.
Leader of opposition Bhupinder Singh kept himself away
from the discussion demanding presence of the Chief Minister
at the all party meeting.
"The all party meeting could not reach at any
conclusion," Amat told reporters after the meeting.
The opposition members, on the other hand remained
firm on their stand for resignation of urban and housing
minister Badri Narayan Patra and school and mass education
minister Pratap Jena, accused of being part of the coal scam.
They also vowed not to return to the house unless the
ministers resign from their positions in order to pave way for
a neutral probe into the allegations made against them.
How can the Chief Minister give clean chit to the two
ministers even before investigation? asked Congress chief whip
Prasad Harichandan alleging that there was an attempt to hush
up the matter.