Analysis

A SESSION OF MISSED OPPORTUNITIES

By A K Sahoo

Bhubaneswar, May 3: The recently concluded Budget session of the Odisha Legislative Assembly, – though saw some crucial piece of legislation getting trasacted, – also witnessed the opposition parities not performing to their expected level of competency and capacity. The perceivably failed to effectively nail the ruling BJD which has been on the back-foot for the past few months on governance issues.

Firstly, the Congress and BJP, the principal opposition parties, could not stop the treasury bench members from practicing what is often criticised in political circles the “unhealthy defensive strategy” – forcing adjournment during question hours.

Normally, the opposition parties raise issues and create pandemonium, forcing adjournments. It’s the responsibility of the treasury bench members to pacify them and manage the session. The opposition has failed to present this fact before the public.

Forcing adjournments by treasury bench members is perhaps seen more in Odisha and the ruling BJD does this quite often.

On the proper implementation of Lokayukta Act in the state, Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra literally bared the lack of interest of the state government on the matter. He dared the treasury bench members to show gazette notification on appointment of Lokayukta and implementation of the Act. They couldn’t.

Mr Mishra also exposed the government’s failure to bring to the books the culprits involvement in rape and other heinous crimes and low conviction rate due to improper monitoring of the activities investigating agencies and acts of public prosecutors in court proceedings.

On the “unforgivable” deviation of rituals at Sri Mandir, the abode of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra, – the opposition parties had a good start, forcing the government to stand on its toes. But, they could not further build up and left it halfway, allowing the opposition for a safe passage. Everybody knew that Lord Jagannath had forced fasting for three days, but the government  flatly denied this charge and the opposition accepted it without much protest.

The opposition’s firepower on farmer issue did not appear going strong this time around. Not much debate was held on farmer suicide cases, distress sale of produces and securing lives of peasants through welfare measures.

The most striking feature of the session was that the BJP which until recently appeared the “most active” opposition player on the floor of the Assembly, seemingly played the second fiddle to the Congress.

On the other hand, the Congress which in the previous sessions appeared a demoralized lot, – appeared full of energy and enthusiasm following the recent rejig in the Pradesh Congress Committee.

The coming monsoon session is most like will be of more indicative as to how the state political situation is going to unfold in the days ahead.

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