Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Aug 27:
A Biju Janata Dal (BJD) legislator was today in the eye of the storm with both Opposition as well as ruling party members lambasting him for his controversial remark against a woman legislator equating her with controversial Mumbai-based godwoman Radhe Maa inside the Odisha Assembly.
During the zero hour in the Assembly, Congress legislators alleged that western Odisha is being neglected leading to regional disparity and imbalance.
During the discussion on the issue, BJP MLA Radharani Panda demanded separate state status for the Koshal region. She alleged that the state government had turned a blind eye to the demands for establishing a permanent bench of the High Court and had failed to safeguard the interests of the western Odisha people.
Reacting strongly to the demand for a separate state, BJD’s Athagarh MLA Ranendra Pratap Swain said that the demand for division of the state was not acceptable. He reportedly called the woman legislator ‘Radhe Maa’ and advised her to refrain from pronouncements.
“We are always ready to discuss issues of neglect. Instead of coming to real issues, irrelevant and personal issues are being taken up,” Swain said.
The woman legislator protested Swain’s remarks inside as well as outside the House.
“They are doing politics in the shadow of Sarathi Baba and other Babas. Talk of Babas and Matas are coming out of their mouths. I am hurt by these remarks,” she said.
“When I raised my region’s issues, they made the remark, which has hurt me. I am deeply saddened by this,” Radharani Panda, the Brajrajnagar legislator said.
Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly Narasingh Mishra disapproved of the Athagarh member’s remark, saying; “We should maintain decorum inside the House to the maximum extent. Whether it is on record or off record, unparliamentary words should not be used; it hurts the sentiments of others.”
Swain’s remarks did not go down well with members of his own party either.
“If somebody has made some unparliamentary remarks against any woman, then it is not proper. If he had kept it to himself, the matter wouldn’t have come outside,” BJD spokesperson Sashi Bhusan Behera said.