Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jan 19:
The committee formed by the BJD led Odisha government to study the functioning of the Legislative Councils in other states, held its first meeting today in the absence of the opposition Congress and BJP members.
The committee held its first meeting today at the Special Circuit House here despite a boycott by Congress and BJP members and tentatively decided to go on a three-day visit to Maharashtra and Karnataka on January 31.
The committee’s first meeting was attended by the three BJD members Dr Nrusingh Sahu (panel chairman), Pramila Mallik and Manohar Randhari along with the secretaries of Parliamentary Affairs and Odisha Assembly.
The meeting decided to visit Maharashtra and Karnataka to study the processes with regard to constitution of Legislative Councils in these states.
“In the meeting, we decided to visit Maharashtra and Karnataka to study the process for forming a Legislative Council and collect relevant information about the functioning of the Legislative Councils in these states. January 31 has been tentatively fixed for the visit,” said Dr Nrusingh Sahu, chairman of the panel.
“Several learned people in different fields are unable to come to the Vidhan Sabha. However, their wisdom and advice is necessary for the proper functioning of the government. The state government feels that their advice is needed,” said Pramila Mallik, a member of the committee.
“Had the government’s intent not been honest, it could have nominated all members from the BJD. Why did it nominate members from the Congress and the BJP?” Mallik asked while reacting on the opposition’s allegation that the formation of the committee was done in an arbitrary manner without going for a discussion with all parties before taking such an important decision.
“The committee will visit as decided. We hope they (Congress and BJP members) will join us during the visit. I had personally spoken to them and expected that they would attend the meeting and air whatever views they have on the issue. I am still hopeful they will join us during the visit”, said Dr Sahu.
Leader of the Opposition and senior Congress leader Narasingh Mishra, in his reaction, said “When the government does not need our cooperation, how are we going to cooperate with it? We will take a decision on the issue when it comes for discussion in the Assembly keeping the state’s interest in mind,”
Calling the decision of the Naveen Patnaik led government to form the committee as autocratic, Mishra said no member of the Congress attended the meeting.
Similar opinions were also expressed by the BJP with its legislatature party leader Basant Panda terming the government’s decision as most undemocratic.
The committee appointed by the state government has three members from the ruling BJD–Dr Nrusingh Charan Sahu, Pramila Mallik and Manohar Randhari– and two Opposition members, Bhujbal Majhi and Nitesh Gangdev of the Congress and BJP respectively.