Deadlock in Assembly, Oppn demands Speaker's resignation

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Bhubaneswar, Mar 27 (UNI) The Orissa Assembly today plunged into a constitutional crisis' as the opposition Congress occupied the podium demanding immediate resignation of Speaker Maheswar Mohanty for his alleged involvement in a sexual harrasment case.

Minutes before the House commenced, the Opposition members rushed to the podium, thus preventing Deputy Speaker Prahallada Dora to conduct the business.

They also sat on a dharna shouting slogans against the Speaker.

Mr Dora, who was to conduct the House at 1030 hours, was prevented by the agitating members from reaching to his chair.

He was seen standing in the podium along with a Marshal for at least an hour.

Meanwhile, all the Treasury Bench members along with leader of the House Naveen Patnaik were mute spectators to the drama.

The allegation of sexual harassment against Speaker Maheswar Mohanty by Assembly Assistant Marshal Gayatri Panda saw the House adjourned for a day yesterday without transacting any business.

The House was first adjourned at 1042 hours after the Speaker made a statement describing the allegation levelled against him by the woman employee as ''false and baseless'' and said there had been a 'deep conspiracy' against him hatched by several influential and important people.

An inquiry should be ordered into the incident to bring out the truth, the Speaker said and suggested that the House Committee be constituted to probe into the matter.

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