Odisha Assembly: BJD's Absolute Majority Is No License; Opposition Must Get Opportunity To Speak
Bhubaneswar, Sept 26: It is a fact that the Odisha Legislative Assembly, meant for debate and discussion on issues that concern the state, at times reduces itself into a platform of political fights. The lawmakers who are addressed with the decorous prefix ‘Honourable MLAs,” are seen often creating pandemonium, stalling the transaction of legislative businesses.
And, in the process, these ‘honourable’ legislators throw into the dustbin crores of rupees collected from common citizens in the form of taxes.
On the third day of the monsoon session of the Assembly Tuesday, the House was stalled as the treasury bench members did not yield to the demand of the Opposition to discuss the issue of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s private secretary VK Pandian making a whirlwind chopper tour to various parts of the state and splurging money to religious shrines, community halls and other construction projects, ostensibly to woo voters ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.
Any legislature is the floor of the Opposition. It’s meant for listening to the grievances of people through elected representatives and redressing them, besides making laws.
The Opposition members do not get time during off-session periods to directly question the administration and present the grievances of the people of their constituencies. It’s the duty of the Speaker as well as Leaders of the House to see that the Opposition gets adequate opportunity to air their grievances and put forth their demands.
However, peculiar things happened on Monday and Tuesday. On Monday, the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD), in a bid to deprive the Bharatiya Janata Party, the key opposition party in the Assembly, raised the national highway issue. On Tuesday, the BJD raised the Minimum Support Price (MSP) issue to see that the BJP finds itself on the back foot.
Deliberate attempt to deprive the Opposition of raising issues is uncalled for and unhealthy, too, on the part of the ruling dispensation as it claims to be a champion of common people. Democracy survives and thrives only when the ruling party loves to listen to dissenting voices and tolerates criticism. However, the Odisha Legislative Assembly seems to be missing this ethos very badly. Businesses are being transacted allegedly without getting the opposition much involved in the processes.
Absolute majority is good. But it shouldn’t be used as a license to subdue the Opposition. People are ultimate judges and they distinguish between good and bad use of power and make the decision accordingly while exercising their sacred duty – casting the ballots.
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