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Opposition members boycott Odisha governor's address

After staging the walkout from the House, they sat on a dharna near Mahatma Gandhi’s statue on the Assembly premises
Governor Ganeshi Lal.
Governor Ganeshi Lal.
File picture

Subhashish Mohanty   |   Bhubaneswar   |   Published 19.02.21, 02:54 AM

The budget session of the Odisha Assembly began on a stormy note here on Thursday with the Opposition members boycotting the customary governor’s address alleging the speech failed to address concerns of the state, particularly those relating to safeguarding its borders and irregularities in paddy procurement.

After staging the walkout from the House, the Opposition members sat on a dharna near Mahatma Gandhi’s statue on the Assembly premises.


While the political debate over the Odisha government’s alleged failure on various issues created a storm inside the House, a woman tried to immolate herself near the Assembly building alleging the police had failed to arrest those involved in the murder of her son.

Though governor Ganeshi Lal painted a rosy picture of Odisha’s socio-economic situation in his speech on “Healthy Odisha, Happy Odisha”, the Opposition BJP and Congress members staged a walkout stating it had failed to address the various issues, particularly the state government’s failure to stop Andhra Pradesh from holding panchayat elections in disputed border villages under Kotia panchayat of Koraput district. The Supreme Court will hear the petition of the Odisha government on the issue on Friday. The court has already issued notice to the Andhra Pradesh government.

The governor described how Odisha had been successful in managing the situation arising out of the Covid-19 pandemic. He also stressed on Odisha’s achievement in clearing investment proposals worth Rs 1.20 lakh crore. Besides, the governor highlighted the fiscal management of the government.

As soon as the governor started his address, the BJP members trooped into the well of the House and said in one voice that the speech had failed to focus on what steps the state government had taken to check the Andhra Pradesh government from holding elections in Kotia panchayat and its failure to lift paddy from various mandis (regulated wholesale markets).

Leader of the Opposition Pradipta Nayak said: “The state government has totally failed to safeguard the interests of Odisha in the bordering areas. The Odisha government needs to address the issue.  Similarly farmers are sitting on the streets with their paddy in front of various market yards. But the state  government has failed to procure paddy.”

Boycotting the governor’s speech, Congress legislature party leader Narasingha Mishra said: “The Odisha government remained a mute spectator and Andhra Pradesh went ahead with rural polls in Kotia panchayat in Koraput district.”

While the government failed to protect the state’s border, it also failed to protect farmers’ interests. There is gross mismanagement in the mandis.

However, the ruling BJD assured that the government was committed to protecting the state’s boundaries.

While the House witnessed an uproar and marshals were on their toes to ensure that nothing went wrong, security personnel had to be alert to stop a woman who tried to immolate herself near the Assembly building. As soon as she poured kerosene on her body, the security personnel whisked her away to an undisclosed location. Sources said she was forced to take the extreme step to highlight the alleged failure of the police in her native Jagatsinghpur district to arrest the accused involved in the murder of her son.

After the governor’s address, though the Opposition members returned to their seats, there was continuous uproar. As the stalemate continued, Speaker Surya Naryan Patro adjourned the House till Friday. The budget session will continue till April 9.

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