Winter session of Odisha Assembly begins with obituary references

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Bhubaneswar, Nov 21 (PTI) The winter session of the Odisha Assembly on Tuesday began with obituary references to five former members and two slain jawans.

Senior BJD leader Saluga Pradhan was elected unopposed as the deputy speaker of the Odisha Assembly.

The ruling BJD and opposition Congress also held their legislature party meetings to prepare their strategies for the session, which will continue till December 30.

As soon as the House assembled, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik moved a condolence motion, which was supported by BJP chief whip Mohan Majhi, Congress legislature party leader Narasingha Mishra and CPI(M) member Laxman Munda.

The members paid tributes to former Odisha Assembly speaker Maheswar Mohanty, ex-deputy minister Saraswati Pradhan, ex-government chief whip Ajaya Kumar Jena, former MLAs Rabi Das and Yudhistir Samantaraya, and slain jawans Saroj Kumar Das and Prakash Chandra Sial, who hailed from the state.

The House offered one-minute silence to the departed souls.

"Mohanty was a popular leader with high organisational skills. He played an important role in the development of Puri. As the speaker of the Odisha Assembly, he had set high standards to uphold the parliamentary democratic tradition," Patnaik said.

As a minister, he left an indelible mark on the functioning of various departments he held, the CM said.

Majhi said Mohanty was an able and unbiased speaker and he had taken strong decisions to protect the dignity of the House during his stint.

Earlier in the day, Pradhan was elected unopposed as deputy speaker of the House. The two-time tribal MLA from G Udayagiri constituency in Kandhamal district filed his nomination paper on Monday and he was the lone contestant for the post.

Speaker Pramila Mallik declared Pradhan elected uncontested as the deputy speaker of the assembly. With this development, the Odisha Assembly now has a Dalit speaker and a tribal deputy speaker.

CLP leader Narasingha Mishra said, "Mohanty was the best speaker I have seen in this House and he had given many historic rulings during his tenure." The speaker adjourned the proceedings till Wednesday. PTI BBM BBM ACD