Constitutional crisis in Orissa Assembly

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Bhubaneswar, Mar 27 (UNI) Allegation of sexual harassment against Speaker Maheswar Mohanty virtually plunged the Orissa Assembly into a deadlock leading to 'constitutional crisis' as the House could not assemble at 1030 hours today following a dharna by the Opposition Congress.

Deputy Speaker Prahallada Dora could not conduct any business in the House as he was prevented by the agitating Congress members from reaching his chair.

Almost all the Congress MLAs occupied the podium and shouted slogans demanding the Speaker's resignation.

The Deputy Speaker had to stand at the podium along with his Marshal till 1135 hours and finally returned to his official chamber amid protests by the Opposition members.

As soon as the Deputy Speaker left, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and his cabinet colleagues also followed him.

Meanwhile, Congress deputy leader Narasingh Mishra said the House cannot run unless Governor N C Bhandare resummons it.

He said the House, which was adjourned for the whole day yesterday without transacting any business following a ruckus by the Opposition, was supposed to commence at 1030 today as per law but did not.

Mr Mishra blamed the chief minister for the deadlock in the House saying he did not turn up yesterday for a discussion to sort out the problem after the Speaker announced he would not preside over the House unless the truth was unearthed.

''Hence we decided to paralyse the House,'' Mr Mishra added.

The dharna still continued in the House, thus paralysing the business.

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