Bhubaneswar, Nov 24 (PTI) As the Odisha Assembly’s winter session commenced on Thursday, the House wore the look of pre-Covid days with members, without wearing masks, freely mingling among themselves in the absence of social distancing norms.
No hand sanitiser or soaps were kept at select spots as was the rule during the earlier sessions held in the past two years.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was also present in the Assembly. Barring once, he had attended the House virtually in these two years.
The press gallery also witnessed full attendance as the reporters for the first time since 2020 were allowed to sit in their place after the government withdrew all the restrictions imposed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It is good that we can freely perform our responsibilities. No social distancing, masks. Happy to see the press gallery full,” Congress Chief Whip Taraprasad Bahinipati said.
A majority of the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) members were away campaigning for the Padampur by-poll to be held on December 5.
Leader of Opposition Jaynarayan Mishra of the BJP, Leader of the Congress Legislature Party Narasingha Mishra and the lone CPI(M) MLA Laxman Munda came to the Assembly while two senior BJD members Prafulla Samal and Prafulla Kumar Mallick attended the proceedings through video conference from Lok Seva Bhavan, the state secretariat.
Obituary references were made in memory of deceased members Bijay Ranjan Singh Bariha, BC Sethi, Golak Bihari Naik, Kapil Narayan Tiwari, Gopanadaran das and Adikanda Sethi.
The session will have 33 working days with five no-meeting days. It will continue till December 31, a notification issued by the assembly secretariat said. PTI AAM NN NN