Odisha ministers criticised for preferring bypoll

Odisha ministers criticised for preferring bypoll

inisters criticised for preferring bypoll over assembly

Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik. PTI file photo

The ministers in Naveen Patnaik led Biju Janata Dal(BJD) cabinet in Odisha have been strongly criticised by the opposition Congress and the BJP for preferring to campaign for the party in the crucial by-poll for Patkura assembly constituency in coastal Kendrapara district instead of attending the budget session of the state assembly. The campaign for the important by-poll ended on Thursday.

For several days this week as well as last week, state ministers were seen absenting themselves from the assembly which is having its budget session now to station in Patkura to campaign for party nominee, Sabitri Agarwal. As a result, one minister had been forced to reply questions on multiple departments on behalf of absent ministers.

A case in point was finance minister Niranjan Pujari who earlier this week was seen answering questions on several departments apart from his own as his cabinet colleagues were away in Patkura.

This provided an opportunity to the ruling Congress and BJP members to request the Speaker Surya Narayan Patra to adjourn the house till Patkura by-election, scheduled to be held on Saturday, is over. “It was not proper for the ministers to remain absent from the house to campaign in the by-election. It is better to adjourn the house till Patkura result is declared”, said senior Congress legislator Tara Prasad Bahinipati.  

The BJP nominee in the important by-poll is veteran leader Bijoy Mohapatra, a former founder member of the BJD and a long time bete noire of chief minister Patnaik. Therefore, the ruling regional outfit left no stone unturned to win the by-election and retain the prestigious seat. The by-poll result will be declared on July 24.