In a dramatic fashion, the BJP MLA’s led by Leader of Opposition Pradipta Naik marched with banners from the Assembly to the state secretariat (Lok Seva Bhawan) and then to CM Naveen Patnaik’s residence saying they are ‘searching’ for the CM who has abstained from the Assembly for days together without trying to resolve the deadlock over procurement of paddy.
The high voltage theatrics and grandstanding , however, ended in an anti-climax of sorts with the ruling BJD outwitting the saffron party by joining the march from the Lok Seva Bhawan and swiftly arranging a ‘reception’ for the BJP at the CM’s residence.
The fact that they were outwitted was writ large of the faces of some of the angry BJP mla’s when the CM himself came out to the road and invited them to his house.
The BJD women leaders blew conches and applied tilak on the forehead of a few BJP MLA’s as they walked into the gates of Naveen Nivas.
The BJP that had been demanding an apology from the CM , criticized his continued absence from the Assembly and asserted that they would ‘search’ and ask him to come and attend an all party meeting to resolve the deadlock seemed ‘satisfied’ with a brief meeting with the CM at his residence.
The CM assured them that he will talk to the Speaker and an all party meeting will be convened to resolve the stalemate over procurement of paddy.
Within a few hours the all party meeting was held wherein it was decided that the government will make a statement in the House on the procurement issue tomorrow.
It was also decided that the demand for apology by BJP MLA Subash Panigrahi for attempting suicide in the House will be referred to a special privilege committee.
Incidentally, the CM did not attend the all party meeting.
It is also a fact that over the last two days the Speaker had held several rounds of meetings with leaders of all parties but the talks had failed.
Earlier, the BJP mlas had squatted on the road as the gates of the CM’s residence were closed. Soon several BJD leaders and Ministers rushed and were seen pleading with folded hands requesting the BJP mlas to enter the residence of the CM.
When their plea’s failed, the CM came out and personally invited the BJP MLA’s.
Had the CM not come , we would have returned from the gate, stated Leader of Opposition Pradipta Naik. We did have a discussion with the CM, he added.
During the march to the CM’s residence both sides, the BJP and BJD had hurled charges. Why is the BJD following us, their MLA’s and Ministers do not have a voice and are subservient to officers, charged BJP veteran Jayanarayan Mishra.
The BJD Minister Pratap Jena quipped “ Naveen Nivas, the residence of the CM is a hallowed building where Biju babu lived and the BJP’s march to the place is to wash off their sin, we will welcome them”.
Angered by this, Mohan Majhi of the BJP hit back saying it is Jena who has sinned like Minister Arun Sahoo and a whole lot of the BJD members who are following behind us. He was implicitly referring to the double murder case in Mahanga , Jena’s constituency and the Pari murder case in Sahoo’s constituency.
The high pitched drama did obviate the charge that the Assembly has not functioned for six days and as Leader of the House, the CM had not acted even to try and ask his party members not to stall the proceedings.