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Odisha Assembly speaker says 'sorry' for not allowing LoP to

Press Trust of India  |  Bhubaneswar 

Odisha Assembly Speaker S N Patro on Tuesday expressed regret for adjourning the House the previous day when Leader of Opposition Pradipta Kumar Naik was speaking on the mysterious death of a woman panchayat official.

The speaker's action had irked the main opposition BJP members.

"I could not understand what the Leader of Opposition was saying yesterday. I feel sorry for that. I had no intention to debar him from speaking in the house," Patro said at the beginning of the Zero Hour this morning.

While opposition BJP welcomed the speakers gesture, the treasury bench members were surprised and raised question as how the speaker can tender apology.

Patro, however, said "A mistake is a mistake. If anyone commits mistake, there should be no hesitation in saying sorry".

BJP leader Naik, the leader of opposition, said: "We welcome the gesture of the speaker. It is his duty to protect rights of the members, particularly those belonging to opposition parties."

With Patro saying "sorry," the acrimony between the opposition BJP and the speaker ended on a sweet note and the saffron party leaders actively participated in the business of the house after five days of agitation over the issue.

During past five days, as part of protests the BJP members had trooped into the well of the house, covered their mouths with black scarves inside the house, staged dharna near Mahatma Gandhi statue in the assembly premises and rushed to Raj Bhavan while demanding a CBI probe into the mysterious death of the panchayat extension officer in Jajpur district.

The saffron party has been claiming that she was raped and subsequently killed and the state government allegedly tried to cover up the matter as ruling party members were involved in the crime.

Though Naik hailed the speakers gesture, he did not spare ruling BJD and the state government.

Quoting former Prime Minister A B Vajpayee, Naik said: "You may run the government with absolute majority, but you cannot run the house by ignoring the opposition."

Naik said Vajpayee had said this when the saffron party had only two members in the Lok Sabha. "The then lok sabha speaker Balaram Jhakar had denied Vajpayeeji to speak in the house because BJP had only two members," the leader of opposition said while speaking in the house.

Referring to BJD, Naik said: "Today, the situation has changed and BJP has absolute majority. Who knows, one day the ruling BJD will also face the fate of Congress in Odisha."

The BJP leader also cited the instance of former lok sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee who stood by the principles and preferred to annoy his own party.

"After becoming speaker, one should always remain above politics and consider all members on equal terms," he said.

Stating that he is the youngest leader of opposition in the history of Odisha Assembly, Naik said: "This assembly has seen many illustrious speakers including Nilakantha Das, Lingaraj Panigrahi, Nanda Kishore Mishra, Brajamohan Mohanty and many others. We should follow the great personalities.'

While making his point, Naik reiterated BJPs demand of CBI probe into the woman panchayat official's death, action against Jajpur SP for allegedly assassinating character of the dead woman, removal of state Commission of Women chairperson and registration of case under section 302 (murder) of IPC instead of 306 (abetment).

Naik also alleged that arrested Rupesh Bhadra was receiving huge amount of money from a private company. He also demanded arrest of all the five persons present in the private guest house when the victim's body was recovered.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, November 19 2019. 17:56 IST