As soon as the house assembled for the day, the opposition MLAs rushed to the well and started shouting slogans against the government. The BJP MLAs also displayed banners accusing the state government as anti-farmer. Unable to run the proceedings, speaker Surya Narayan Patro first adjourned the house till 11:30 am and later till 4 pm. The opposition members continued to protests when the house re-assembled in the post-lunch session. Some even tried to climb atop the speaker’s podium. The deadlock continued even as Patro convened an all-party meeting and gave direction to state food supplies and consumer welfare minister Ranendra Pratap Swain to make a statement in the house on Saturday over the status of paddy procurement.
Demanding a detailed discussion on paddy procurement, the Congress MLAs said they did not agree with the speaker’s ruling asking the minister for a statement. The BJP demanded that the state government should lift paddy within seven days from all mandis and fresh tokens should be issued to the farmers who couldn’t sell their paddy.
Briefing reporters outside, Congress legislature party leader Taraprasad Bahinipati accused the state government as anti-farmer. “It’s been three months since paddy sacks are lying at mandis. The state government is talking about farmers’ welfare but not procuring paddy at the mandis. The farmers are in distress while the government is siding with the millers. The chief minister must intervene in this matter,” Bahinipati said.
BJP deputy leader Bishnu Charan Sethi slammed the government over the farmers’ plight due to mismanagement in paddy procurement. “When the Centre is giving adequate money for paddy procurement, why the state government is not procuring paddy from farmers? They are facing terrible hardships,” Sethi said.
Senior BJD leader and former minister Snehangini Chhuria said the BJP’s protest is to divert the attention from the nation-wide farmers’ agitation, which is going on for the past three months.
“The state government has always been with the farmers and has taken several steps to ensure hassle-free paddy procurement, leading to to record procurement in the state. The BJP has always tried to mislead people on all issues, including paddy procurement,” Chhuria said outside the assembly.