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Quit cry cuts short session

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 16: The Assembly’s winter session, which was scheduled to conclude on December 26, came to an abrupt end today with the government deciding to cut short its business.

Terming the decision as unfortunate, Opposition Congress members marched to Raj Bhavan and lodged their protest with governor S.C. Jamir against the decision.

The immediate provocation for adjourning the House sine die seems to have been the Congress’s refusal to budge from its demand for the resignation of revenue and disaster management minister Surjya Narayan Patro. The Congress had accused him of trying to mislead the legislature on the issue of central assistance to the state in the wake of cyclone Phailin and the subsequent floods.

Though the Centre had released Rs 1,000 crore by December 3, Patro claimed in the Assembly on December 11 that the UPA had released only Rs 250 crore.

Today when the House reassembled, the Congress members were up on their feet raising slogans and waving banners against the state government. Demanding the minister’s resignation, the Congress MLAs had been disrupting the proceedings since December 12.

The treasury benches sought to counter the Opposition charge, asserting that there was no need for Patro to resign as he had already issued a clarification admitting his mistake.

Agitated over the government stand, Congress MLA from Jaleswar Debi Prasanna Chand today tried to climb on to the Speaker’s podium and then snatched away his microphone. In the din, government chief whip Pravat Tripathy’s motion to suspend Chand from the Assembly for a day was passed.

The Congress MLA, however, refused to leave the House. Amid the hullabaloo, ruling party deputy chief whip Sanjay Dasburma moved another motion to initiate a discussion on the Centre’s neglect of the state. The House witnessed uproarious scenes.

Subsequently, Tripathy moved a resolution for the House to be adjourned sine die and it was passed by voice vote. The Speaker adjourned the House sine die.

Parliamentary affairs minister Kalpataru Das said: “The government had a long list of business to take up. But the House was not allowed to function by the Congress on trivial issues.”

Das said: “The Speaker suspended the Congress member for disrupting the House. But he did not leave the House. This has never happened before. Under the circumstances, there was little other option than adjourning the House.”

Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh said: “The government decided to run away as it had no guts to confront the truth. We will go to the people on this issue.”

Congress chief whip Prasad Hairchandan said: “We had sensed that this (cutting short the Assembly session) was coming.” State BJP chief K.V. Singhdeo termed the sine die closure of the House as “undemocratic and unfortunate”.