Lokayukta issue continues to rock Odisha Assembly, adjourned till tomorrow

Bhubaneswar: The inordinate delay by the State Government in appointing Lokayukta stalled the State Assembly proceedings for the second consecutive day on Tuesday as Opposition members continued to protest over the issue saying the State Government’s failure to constitute the anti-corruption body was a mockery of its policy of zero tolerance to graft.

Congress members led by Leader of Opposition (LoP) Narasingha Mishra and BJP MLAs led by party legislature party leader KV Singh Deo staged dharna in the Well of the House during the Question Hour demanding a statement from Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik over the delay in appointment of Lokayukta.

As soon as the House met to transact business at 10.30 am, the Congress MLAs trouped into the Well of House and sat in a dharna near the Speaker’s podium. Despite Speaker Pradip Kumar Amat’s repeated requests to them to take their seats, the agitating MLAs did not listen forcing the former to adjourn the House at 10.32 am till 11.30 am.

As the House reassembled at 11.30 am for the day, the Opposition members again raised anti-Government slogans for the failure to bring Lokayukta in the State. Unable to run the House smoothly, Speaker again adjourned the House till 3 pm amid the pandemonium.

As the opposition parties did not allow the house to run even in the post-lunch session, the Speaker first adjourned for an hour and later till Wednesday.

Blaming the State Government for not initiating efforts to restore normalcy in the House, LoP Narasingha MIshra told reporters that, “Yesterday, we raised the issue of Lokayukta and staged a walk out as mark of protest. As per the established practice, the State Government should initiate the process of dialogue to restore normalcy in the House. Since there were no such efforts, we were forced to stage dharna in the Well.”

The State Government boasted of having passed the State Lokayukta Act first in country. Odisha was the first State to pass the Lokayukta Bill in February 2014 for creation of an anti-corruption watchdog which was supposed to probe corruption charges against public functionaries including the Chief Minister.

The Odisha Lokayukta Bill received presidential assent in February, 2015.

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