Congress, BJP protest in Odisha Assembly on farmers’ issues

Congress, BJP protest in Odisha Assembly on farmers’ issues

Bhubaneswar: The winter session of the Odisha Assembly began on a stormy note today as members of the opposition Congress and BJP protested over farmers’ issues, leading to adjournment of the proceeding till tomorrow.

As soon as the House made obituary references, Congress members rushed towards the Speaker’s podium and shouted slogans demanding a statement from Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on crop loss and farmers’ suicide in the state.

Wearing aprons bearing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s caricature and holding paddy straw, Congress MLAs demanded suspension of the question hour and a debate on crop loss and other farmers’ issues through a motion.

BJP members too rushed to the well of the House and raised slogans against the state government for not being able to protect the interest of farmers who have been suffering due to drought, pest attack and unseasonal rain.

The BJP MLAs also held damaged paddy crops.

Unable to run the House amid the protest, Speaker Pradip Amat adjourned the Assembly first for an hour, then for 30 minutes and later till tomorrow.

After the House was adjourned, the ruling BJD members staged dharna in front of the Mahatma Gandhi statue on the Assembly premises demanding hike in the minimum support price of paddy.

“The prime minister did not give time to the House Committee formed for hike in paddy MSP. The BJD members today staged dharna near Gandhiji statue protesting against the Centre’s attitude towards Odia farmers,” government chief whip Amar Prasad Satpathy said outside the House.

BJP MLA Pradip Purohit said the farmers have suffered a lot due to drought, crop loss and unexpected rain during the kharif season.

“We demand identification of affected sharecroppers like deceased Brunda Sahu and proper assessment of crop loss by the state government,” Purohit said.

Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra of the Congress said a motion was moved by his party to suspend the Question Hour and hold discussion over the issues of farmers.

“Unfortunately, the Speaker did not permit me to say anything in the House and adjourned it. The Speaker should convene an all-party meeting and discuss possible ways to help farmers and stop farmer suicide,” Mishra said.

Earlier, the House observed a one-minute silence as a mark of respect towards the departed members of the House, including former minister Muralidhar Guru and ex-MLA Samay Kisku.