Leader of Opposition and former law minister Narasingha Mishra led a delegation of Congress legislators to Governor Dr S C Jamir on Friday seeking his intervention as an ‘Undeclared Emergency’ has been imposed in the state with all rights – statutory and fundamental rights have been crushed.
The Governor gave a patient hearing and received a detailed memorandum enlisting instances of how the Opposition views were being obliterated.
Reliable sources said the Governor assured to look in to the matter and call for records of the Assembly proceedings.
Using his legal acumen, Mishra presented his case of ‘undeclared emergency’ in the state. The Assembly, cutting across party lines objected to certain provisions in the Odisha Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Bill as it felt that landless and homesteadless persons occupying urban land should not be criminally prosecuted.
It was also unanimous in the view that corporate houses, businessmen and apartment owners occupying government land without proper sanction should be firmly dealt with.
The Minister-in-charge assured that the poor, landless persons will be protected. He admitted to certain mistakes in the bill and took time to examine various amendments.
The House was adjourned for clause by clause discussions at a later date. Subsequently, on 26 August amendments moved by the Opposition and ruling party to a clause was accepted and passed.
However, the next day, the minister moved a motion to withdraw the amendment adopted by the House to clause 2(c) of the Bill. No written motion was tabled nor circulated. The Opposition protested and termed it as unprecedented. The memorandum to the Governor stated that the Leader of Opposition standing on the seat wanted to move his other amendments to the Bill, but was denied the opportunity and amidst the pandemonium the Bill was adopted.
No important bill should be passed in the absence of the opposition but as many as four bills were passed after the entire Opposition had walked out of the House, it noted.
The other point stated in the memorandum related to an earlier instance of denying the opposition a chance to discuss about the indictment of the chief minister by the law courts relating to a case against the former DGP.
When the same was done during discussion on law and order, portions of the discussion were expunged without spelling out which portion or the discussion was deleted.
Thirdly when teachers strike was being discussed, the visitors’ gallery was vacated and when the Leader of Opposition asked why it was being done, there was no answer , pointed out the memorandum.
“Anything said against the government or anything which exposes the government or embarrasses it is not allowed to be discussed or expunged” alleged the Congress delegation in its memorandum while requesting the Governor to intervene since it is an extraordinary situation.
Meanwhile, the Opposition BJP which has also boycotted the remaining days of the monsoon session staged a protest dharna beneath the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in the Assembly premises today. The Speaker Niranjan Pujari today directed the Parliamentary affairs Minister, government chief whip to meet and request the opposition members to return and participate in the House. But the meeting failed to evoke any response.