Orissa assembly today witnessed hot exchange of words between members of ruling BJD and opposition Congress over the visit of AICC president Sonia Gandhi to the!state during the 1999 super cyclone.
The issue of the visit was raised by the Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh during the discussion on the Governor's address to the first session of the 14th assembly.
Claiming that Congress was always with the people of Orissa during natural calamities, Singh said it was Gandhi who arrived first in Bhubaneswar on October 31, 1999 when even the then NDA government's defence and union home ministers failed to land here.
Singh's statement was challenged by Agriculture and Cooperation minister Damodar Rout who was then representating Ersama, worst hit in the super cyclone.
"It was rather Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Defence Minister George Fernandes who first arrived at the worst cyclone affected places in Jagatsinghpur," he said.
Singh, who was then a minister in the Giridhar Gamang cabinet sought records from the home department to prove who was correct.