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Absence of Ministers in Odisha Assembly annoys opposition

Bhubaneswar, Nov 20:The opposition members on Wednesday created noise in the Odisha Assembly following the absence of ministers during the proceedings in the house. With the absence of ministers during the zero hour, Speaker Surya Narayan Patro directed the government chief whip to ensure that at least some ministers are present in the House.

While not a single minister was present during the Zero Hour, the treasury benches in the Assembly also witnessed empty seats as majority of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) members remained absent after the Question Hour. “No minister was present in the House. It is the duty of the chief whip to ensure that some ministers remain in the House,” said the Speaker.

After the opposition members created noise in the House, some ministers along with the BJD members started coming into the House. “The Chief Minister himself never gives importance to the House. He always remains absent during important discussions. When the leader of the House does not honour the House, it is natural that others would not honour the House,” Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member Jaynarayan Mishra told media persons.

Despite BJD President and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s direction to party MLAs to attend proceedings in the House without fail, the treasury benches witnessed empty seats.”Nobody is disobeying the direction of the Chief Minister. The MLAs are going to attend different programmes by taking permission. I will request the Ministers to remain present in the House,” said government chief whip Pramila Mallick.

Before the beginning of the winter session, Patnaik had asked party MLAs to remain present in the house during the session and actively participate in debates.On Tuesday also, majority of the BJD members were absent in the Assembly during discussion on the farmers’ issues and delay in paddy procurement.