The winter session of the Odisha Assembly was on Sunday adjourned sine die about a month ahead of its schedule, amid ruckus by opposition members in the House over a host of issues. The 40-day session was scheduled to continue till December 31.
Announcing the sine die adjournment of the session, immediately after the passage of the Rs 11,700 crore Appropriation Bill for the Supplementary Statement of Expenditure, 2020-21, Speaker S N Patro said the proceedings were held adhering to COVID-19 guidelines. Earlier in the day, there was chaos in the House with the BJP accusing the Congress of having a tacit understanding with the ruling BJD.
The BJP MLAs also intensified demand for the dismissal of Agriculture Minister Arun Kumar Sahoo from the cabinet in connection with the kidnapping and killing of a 5- year-old girl in Nayagarh district. While some saffron party members attempted to climb the Speaker's podium, Congress members said there is no point in disrupting the proceedings, after the Odisha government announced a high court-monitored Special Investigation Team (SIT) for the case.
As BJP MLA Mohan Majhi was seen trying to climb atop the podium, the Speaker adjourned the proceedings first till 11.30 am and later till 3 pm. Similar scenes of chaos were witnessed when the House reassembled. BJP members, led by Leader of Opposition P K Naik, later staged a silent dharna near the Mahatma Gandhi statue in the assembly premises.
When the House reassembled after 3 pm and the Appropriation Bill was passed, immediately after the passage of the Bill, Government Chief Whip Pramila Mallik moved a proposal for adjournment of the session for an indefinite period which was supported by Parliamentary Affairs Minister B K Arukha and BJD legislator Amar Prasad Satpathy. The BJP and the Congress opposed it, accusing the BJD government of evading the House due to fear of opposition parties.
While Leader of Opposition staged a walkout protesting the decision, Congress Legislature Party leader Narasingha Mishra called it "unconstitutional". Naik said, the BJP members met Governor Ganeshi Lal and apprised him about the sine die adjournment of the session , about 30 days ahead of its schedule.
He alleged that the government did not take the opposition into confidence before moving the notice for sine die adjournment of the session. Congress MLA Taraprasad Bahinipati said, there were many issues to be discussed and debate on adjournment notices was yet to be held.
Senior BJP MLA J N Mishra said, the government virtually ran away from the House fearing opposition attack on several issues. The winter session of the House, which functioned for only 10 days, was stormy with the treasury bench and opposition exchanging words on issues like alleged custodial death, merger of schools, kidnapping and killing of a minor girl in Nayagarh and at least three self-immolation bids in front of the Assembly building.
Finance Minister Niranjan Pujari said that this years supplementary budget is "re-prioritization" of the allocations with the COVID-19 pandemic being at the centre of the states focused efforts. He said, Odishas COVID-19 management has been praised globally.
Pujari had presented the first supplementary budget for the 2020-21 fiscal on the first day of the session.