Leader of the Opposition Bhupinder Singh criticises the move

Congress legislator Santosh Singh Saluja was on Wednesday suspended and barred from participating in the proceedings of the State Assembly for seven days.

Mr. Saluja, who represents Kantabanjhi Assembly segment in Bolangir district, was suspended from the House for a week for making an objectionable remark against Speaker Pradip Kumar Amat during the zero hour.

The Congress legislator made the remark as the Speaker allowed Government Deputy Chief Whip Sanjay Dasburma to speak instead of a member from the opposition side.

Mr. Saluja was placed under suspension and was asked to leave the House after a motion seeking his suspension for seven days was passed by voice vote. The motion was moved by Government Chief Whip Pravat Tripathy.

The Congress legislator refused to withdraw his remarks even after legislators cutting across party lines denounced his remarks.

Walkout

Opposition Chief Whip Prasad Harichandan, however, objected to the manner in which the Government Chief Whip moved the motion in the House. The motion was moved by Mr. Tripathy at a time when the opposition legislators were outside the House after they staged a walkout expressing displeasure over the food supplied and Consumer Welfare Minister Pratap Keshari Deb’s reply on an adjournment motion relating to the State Government’s Rs. 2 a kilo rice scheme, Mr. Harichandan pointed out.

Leader of the Opposition Bhupinder Singh also criticised the suspension of Mr. Saluja. The legislator should have been given a hearing in the House before the Speaker declared his suspension, he said. Talking to presspersons outside the House, Mr. Saluja alleged that opposition legislators were being constantly denied permission to speak out to raise various issues of public interest and the Speaker was working in a partisan manner. “I lost my temper as I was not allowed to raise the issues of poverty-stricken people of western Odisha who had elected me to the State Assembly,” Mr. Saluja said.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kalpataru Das said there was no alternative but to suspend Mr. Saluja since he did not express regret.


  • The Congress legislator refused to withdraw his remarks despite pleas to the contrary

  • Opposition legislators are being denied permission to speak, he says