The Odisha Assembly was stalled on Saturday by repeated adjournments after both ruling BJD and opposition Congress created ruckus over Prime Minister’s remark about the state.
As soon as the House assembled for the day, Samir Ranjan Dash of BJD raised the issue and dubbed the Prime Minister’s remark of ‘acute poverty and starvation’ in Odisha as “unfortunate”, which amounted to an “insult of the people of Odisha”.
Dash was supported by other ruling party legislators, including Priyadarshi Mishra who were on their feet criticising Narendra Modi for his remark at an election rally in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh on Friday.
Opposition Congress also came out in support of the ruling BJD to oppose the Prime Minister’s comment. Congress chief Whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati rose to denounce it as “shameful and inappropriate”.
The House witnessed pandemonium as Congress MLAs trooped into the well shouting slogans. As BJD legislators were also seen proceeding to the well, Speaker Niranjan Pujari adjourned the House till 11.30am.
When the House assembled yet again, noisy scenes were witnessed with Congress legislators storming the well and shouting slogans.
Unable to run the House, Pujari adjourned the proceedings till 12.30pm and again till 3pm.
As the House stood adjourned, ruling BJD lawmakers staged a dharna near Mahatma Gandhi’s statue in the Assembly premises protesting against the remark, while stating that it was in “bad taste”.
Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra (Congress) told reporters outside the House that Modi had acted in a “disgraceful manner” by attempting to derive political mileage using poverty in Odisha.
BJP, however, dismissed the criticism with party legislator Pradip Purohit claiming that people of Odisha have realised that the Naveen Patnaik regime had failed on all fronts.
Buoyed by the success of his BJP in local body elections in Maharashtra and some other states after demonetisation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said on Friday he was committed to rooting out corruption.
“Odisha, where there is so much poverty, starvation, unemployment and where the BJP did not even have foothold to place its flag, people have given so much support that everyone is taken aback...even the poor of Odisha have come with the BJP,” Modi had said at an election meeting in Uttar Pradesh’s Gonda.