The Naveen Patnaik government, which is on the backfoot after CBI sleuths questioned the CM’s aide Saroj Sahu in connection with the chit fund scam, is all set to curtail the ongoing month-long assembly session to avoid opposition attacks.
The Rules Committee of the Assembly, headed by Speaker Niranjan Pujari, is ready to amend the provision requiring the House to meet for at least 60 days in a calendar year, sources said. The amendment would empower the Speaker to reduce the number of sitting days if the situation so warrants.
The ongoing Assembly session started on November 20 and was scheduled to continue till December 20. However, sources said the BJD was planning to wrap up the session after the supplementary budget is passed in the first week of December.
The ruling party’s strategy was on show Monday when the Speaker disallowed a debate over chit fund scam demanded by members of the opposition. Congress members responded by throwing banners at the Speaker and breaking the mike on his podium.
However, the Odisha Civil Courts (Amendment) Bill was passed and the Odisha Religious Endowments (Amendment) Bill moved amid the din before the House was adjourned for the day.
A meeting of the business advisory committee of the Assembly, convened by the Speaker in the afternoon, failed to resolve the impasse as opposition members walked out. “The government is afraid of discussing the chit fund scam in the House. That is why it stalled proceedings in during Question Hour,” alleged Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra.
Tara Prasad Bahinipati, chief whip of the Congress, accused Speaker Niranjan Pujari of acting in a partisan manner. “He is functioning as the speaker of the BJD instead of the speaker of the House,” alleged Bahinipati.