Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Dec 2:
After causing embarrassment to the government by accusing Speaker Niranjan Pujari of failure to exercise his constitutional powers to restore order in the Odisha Assembly yesterday, Odisha Excise and Cooperation minister Damodar Rout today sought to make amends claiming he had said nothing against the Speaker.
“The Speaker himself is a lawyer. All that I had said yesterday was that perhaps he is not using the enormous powers vested on him by the Constitution to restore normalcy in the Assembly. I have said nothing against the Speaker,” Rout said today.
The minister clarified that his comments yesterday were in reference to the unruly behavior of some members, who had climbed on to the Speaker’s podium from behind after having talks with him at his chamber. “Our members can provide security to him inside the House. Outside, it’s the marshals who have to prevent these members from climbing on the Speaker’s podium. This is against all conventions and traditions of the past,” he said.
Rout accused the Leader of the Opposition of trying to play politics on his comments. “He has nothing of his own,” said Rout reacting to the opposition using his comments to score a point on the government.
Leader of the Opposition Narsingh Mishra openly admitted that they have used Rout’s statement as a weapon.
“Whatever Dama Babu said yesterday has been recorded by the media, it has been aired also. We have used it as a weapon. Either you play the recordings before him or let him himself listen to what he had said yesterday and then react,” said Narsingh Mishra in his reactions to Rout’s clarifications and accusations against him.
Also reacting on Rout’s clarifications today leader of the BJP legislature party Basant Panda said “We do not know under what circumstances Dama Babu made the statement. He is the best person to clarify that. Is it not that whatever he had said is the truth? We welcome his statement. Nobody in his party has the guts to speak the truth. He has told the truth. Even if he blames us, we welcome it.”
BJD spokesperson Pratap Jena said there was no provision in the Assembly rules to challenge the Speaker’s ruling. “In any case, this is not the first time such a ruling has been given,” he said.