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Naveen accused of Vedanta nexus

Bhubaneswar, Dec 4: The state Assembly today witnessed uproarious scenes over the Vedanta University land acquisition issue once again leading to three adjournments.

The Opposition Congress members stormed the well shouting slogans against chief minister Naveen Patnaik, accusing him of having a nexus with the Vedanta Group. They scuffled with security personnel while trying to climb the speaker’s podium and disrupt Assembly proceedings. Amidst the din, the House could transact business hardly for an hour and 30 minutes.

As soon as the House assembled this morning, Leader of the Opposition Bhupinder Singh raised the issue of Vedanta University land acquisition and sought to know what action had been taken in the matter following Orissa High Court verdict.

However, Speaker, Pradip Kumar Amat did not allow him to speak and went ahead with the question-answer business. Infuriated, the Congress members trooped into the well shouting slogans such as “Naveen-Anil bhai bhai, Vedanta go back” and “Naveen Patnaik down, down”.

Congress member, S.S Saluja wanted to know what action had been taken on the privilege motion moved against the chief minister. However, Amat did not listen and the question hour continued amidst Opposition uproar.

Singh, however, was on his feet throughout question hour. As soon as the zero hour started, he again tried to raise the issue. But the speaker said, “First ask your members to go back to their seats, then I will allow you (to speak).”

However, as the Congress members did not go back to their seats and pandemonium continued, Amat adjourned the proceedings for one hour.

Talking to the reporters in his Assembly chamber, Singh accused the speaker of adopting “partisan attitude”. The Opposition leader said he wanted to know from the government as to whether criminal proceedings under the Prevention of Corruption Act were initiated against those responsible for the “illegal” land acquisition.

“But I was not allowed by the chair to raise the issue,” he rued.

Later, when the House reassembled after an hour, Opposition chief whip Prasad Harichandan raised the issue and said the tradition of allowing the Leader of the Opposition to speak whenever he wanted to intervene was violated today.

“It was disrespect to the high office of the Leader of the Opposition,” he observed.

However, Amat clarified that he had all respect for Singh. “My intention was that Opposition members should be in their seats when the Leader of the Opposition spoke,” he said.

He appealed to the Opposition members to cooperate in conducting House proceedings. However, Opposition members did not relent and continued disrupting proceedings with slogan shouting and thumping of the Speaker’s podium. The Speaker then adjourned the proceedings till 3 pm and finally till Monday.

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