Assembly adjourns sine die

Staff Reporter

Winter session lasts 19 days

BJP raises Lakshmanananda Saraswati’s killing

Allegations against Ministers rock House

BHUBANESWAR: The winter session of the Orissa Assembly that witnessed innumerable adjournments in the wake of various controversies came to an end on Saturday.

The session was abruptly adjourned sine die even as it was scheduled to end on December 31. In the winter session, the Assembly functioned for 19 days.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member set the tone of the Assembly session demanding the immediate arrest of killers of Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati. From the second day onwards, the issue pertaining to alleged involvement of then Revenue Minister Manmohan Samal in a sexcapade rocked the House with members from the Opposition demanding his resignation. For the next few days the issue dominated the proceedings. Although the Minister and women concerned came out with denials on the allegations levelled by the Opposition, Mr. Samal had to resign from the post on moral grounds.

Controversial issue

The controversial issue of the murder of VHP leader did not end with the BJP raising it on the first day.

The Naveen Patnaik Government found itself in a tricky situation in the wake of the bandh call given by Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati Sradhanjali Samiti on Christmas day demanding the arrest of the killers of the VHP leader.

Despite the Chief Minister’s announcement banning the proposed bandh, Opposition leaders continued to mount pressure on the government on the issue in the Assembly. Finally, the government heaved a sigh of relief when the samiti decided to defer the bandh. Another highlight of the winter session was passing of a Bill granting unitary university status to University College of Engineering, Burla.

The last two days witnessed another minister finding herself in the dock. Opposition members accused Pramila Mallick, Women and Child Development Minister, of taking bribe to clear pay revision files of employees working under the State Commission for Women.

However, Ms. Mallick on Saturday refuted the charge saying that they were baseless, false and politically motivated.

She said that the file of pay revision was sent to the Finance Department for its concurrence and the process was on to revise the salary.

Two important bills on Vedanta University and Shree Pandit Ravishankar University could not be passed as members sought to defer the discussion on them to the next session.