After five days of stalemate over the Vedanta University issue, normalcy returned to the Orissa Assembly today as Opposition Congress decided to participate in the debate on demands for grants.
Earlier, a section of Congress MLAs visited Puri to invoke blessing of Lord Jagannath to expose alleged irregularities in government projects.
“We went to the temple as the State government has sold 600 acre of the temple land to Vedanta University,” said N K Das, who was among the MLAs including Leader of the Opposition Bhupimder Singh and Chief Whip Prasad Harichandan, who visited the temple.
“Keeping the people’s interest in view, we have decided to participate in the debate on demands for grants for the first supplementary budget,” the Congress Chief Whip said.
BJP legislature party leader K V Singhdeo also made a similar statement announcing his party’s participation in the debate on demands for grants.
The opposition’s demand for a quick decision by Speaker Pradip Kumar Amat on the privilege notices served on November 26 against Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for commenting on the Orissa High Court in its November 16 verdict stating that the land acquisition by the State government for Vedanta was not legal, however, was yet to be taken up.
“The opposition notices are still under my examination. I have not admitted them,” Mr. Amat said.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Raghunath Mohanty and others from treasury bench said the Speaker should be given adequate time to examine the privilege notices.
“I appeal to the opposition to cooperate in functioning of the House,” Mr. Mohanty said.
The opposition has held that Mr. Patnaik’s statement was contradictory about the developer of the university, the Anil Agarwal Foundation’s change of status from a private limited company to a public limited one.
It was alleged that the date mentioned by the Chief Minister in his statement was misleading in the face of the high court judgement and therefore it had not only invited contempt of the house, but also amounted to contempt of court.
Mr. Harichandan said, “According to rules and practice, the Speaker should accept the privilege notice without delay as opposition had followed proper procedure for admitting the notices.”