Bhubaneswar: On the first day of the Odisha Assembly on Tuesday, Opposition Congress members staged a walkout after Speaker SN Patro addressed the BJP legislative party leader as the Leader of Opposition "without formally announcing it".
The issue was raised after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, BJP legislative party leader Pradipta Naik and senior Congress leader Narasingha Mishra made obituary references to former members and martyrs of Pulwama who were from the state.
In the case of Naik, the Speaker addressed him as the Leader of Opposition. The Congress members stood up and questioned Patro as to why he addressed Naik as the Leader of Opposition without formally announcing it.
"Naik may be the leader of the BJP Legislature Party, but the speaker has not introduced him to the House as the Leader of Opposition. There are certain procedures which need to be followed before addressing Naik as the Leader of the Opposition," said Mishra.
Mishra was the leader of the opposition in the previous Assembly. Not taking the Congress members' arguments into consideration, the speaker allowed government chief whip Pramila Mallick to speak on the motion of thanks on the Governor's address to the House.
Angry with the speaker's action, Congress members rushed to the well of the House seeking a clarification from the Chair. As Patro did not pay any heed to the protest, the Congress members walked out of the House.
The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) returned to power for the fifth time in the Assembly election bagging 112 of the 146 seats. The BJP clinched 23 seats, while the Congress has bagged nine. The CPI(M) and an Independent have bagged one seat each.
Earlier, the House made obituary reference to former ministers Bed Prakash Agarwal and Gangadhar Pradhan, ex-members Dutikrushna Panda, Chandrasena Naik and Parikhita Karna, besides Pulwama martyrs Prasanna Kumar Sahoo, Manoj Kumar Behera and Ajit Kumar Sahoo who were from Odisha.