Ruckus over JMM demand

Read more below

  • Published 20.08.08
Monsoon session starts. Picture by Sanjib Mukherjee

Bhubaneswar, Aug. 20: The demand of the JMM chief, Shibu Soren, to include three districts of Orissa in his scheme of a “Greater Jharkhand” and the alleged support of the UPA government to the idea, rocked the Assembly today.

The members of the ruling BJD-BJP stormed the well demanding a discussion on this issue and eventually forced the Speaker Kishore Mohanty to adjourn the House for 10 minutes. On the other hand, in a bid to put the ruling party members on the defensive, Opposition Congress demanded a discussion on the merger of outlying Oriya speaking tracts, now in Jharkhand, such as Seraikela-Kharsawan. The former NDA government at the Centre had earlier rejected the demand.

Tempers ran high as ruling party members shouted slogans against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, while Congress members retaliated by raising slogans against chief minister Naveen Patnaik.

For the entire day, no business except the question-answer programme could be transacted due to the uproar.

However, when the House assembled in the morning the mood was sombre as members condoled the death of a former deputy speaker, a former minister, a former member and two jawans of the Indian Army. Thereafter, the question hour passed off more or less peacefully.

However, the atmosphere turned stormy as soon as the zero hour began. Firebrand BJD member, Ranendra Pratap Swain raised the contentious issue of JMM’s demand for the inclusion of the three districts of Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar and Sundargarh in the Greater Jharkhand.

Waving a copy of Soren’s demand charter presented to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the eve of July 22 trust vote in Lok Sabha, Swain claimed that the charter contained Soren and JMM’s Orissa MP Sudam Marandi’s signature.

Describing it as a “deep conspiracy” to divide Orissa, the BJD legislator demanded that the matter be discussed.

BJD-BJP members trooped into the well waving copies of the demand charter and shouting slogans against Manmohan Singh — alleging that Singh “silently supported the demand to save his government”.