Reported by Sandeep Sarangi
Bhubaneswar, Feb 5:
Even as an anonymous letter writer threatened to blow up the Odisha Assembly spreading panic all around, opposition parties were busy giving finishing touches to their own ‘timer bombs’ to blast the state government on the floor of the House during its budget session beginning on Friday.
While the Congress chose to keep its cards close to its chest, an upbeat BJP made no attempt to hide its belligerence. The saffron party clearly believes that there is plenty of ammunition at its disposal to put the government on the mat.
“One of the biggest issues of the moment is distress sale of paddy by farmers. Dadans (migrant labour) continue to leave the state in search of jobs in large numbers. The education system has been completely ruined. The issues of the block grant teachers, siksha sahayaks, violence against women, law and order situation in the state, the chit fund scam, the mining scam, the land scam exposed by CAG and involvement of government in these scams ara all issues that will be taken up by BJP during the session,” said Leader of BJP legislature party Basanta Panda.
The Congress, however, chose not to reveal its cards and played it safe.
“We will play the role of a constructive opposition. There are very important issues to discuss in this session. We will surely cooperate with the government if the bills they bring in and the laws they make are people friendly. The government will need to ensure smooth functioning of the house,” said Leader of Opposition and senior Congress MLA Narasingha Mishra.
The Congress’ non-committal appoach could well be part of a change of strategy. But the ruling BJD has obviously decided that there is no need for a change in the strategy that has served them so well and for so long.
Party supremo Naveen Patnaik gave enough hints that cries of ‘cebtral neglect’ would reverberate inside the hallowed precicnts of the Assembly, just as it did all through the prematurely adjounrned last seesion.
“During this session, we will bring up a number of issues for the development and welfare of the people of the state. We will also raise a number of issues on which the central government has neglected the state. We will see and judge; what is according to the rules will be done. We are ready for discussion on any issue the opposition may raise on the floor of the house,” said Patnaik emerging out of the customary legislature party meeting on Thursday.
The budget session, which will have 30 working days, would be held in two phases. While the first phase would be held from Feb 6 to 21, the second would be held from March 10 to April 4.
In view of the threat to blow up the Assembly, security inside and outside the House this time is tighter than ever before.
Level 3 security arrangements have been put in place for the duration of session. More than 100 officers and 30 platoons of policemen have been deployed in and around the Assembly. Movements will be monitored via 36 CCTVs. DGP Sanjeev Marik personally supervised the security arrangements on Thursday.