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Free-for-all in Orissa Assembly, CM injured

Bhubaneswar, November 2
The Orissa Assembly today witnessed bedlam and a scuffle between the treasury bench and opposition members in which Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik suffered a minor injury and a Congress MLA was suspended for the rest of the session for hurling his chappals into the visitorsí gallery.

Opposition Congress members rushed into the well during the question hour expressing dissatisfaction over the reply to a query on the agreement signed between a private company and the state-run Orissa Mining Corporation (OMC) for bauxite mining in Kalahandi district.

As they raised slogans against the government and the Chief Minister over the bauxite deal, Congress member Anup Sai hurled his chappals into the visitorsí gallery wherein the security personnel were asking cameramen of several TV channels to pack up. The TV channels were telecasting the question hour live.

This sparked a free-for-all as scuffles ensued between Opposition and ruling coalition members, some of whom moved towards the Chief Ministerís chair and toppled the desk. Mr Patnaikís left foot got trapped under the furniture and he was seen in pain even as other members rushed to his aid.

After his foot was extricated from under the desk, he was helped out of the House and taken to the nearby chamber of Panchayatiraj Minister Damodar Rout where a doctor examined him. Mr Patnaik was later rushed to the Capital Hospital here for a precautionary X-ray.

Speaker Maheswar Mohanty later informed the House that the Chief Minister had not suffered any fracture but there was a sprain. The foot was bandaged and he had been advised rest.

The House, which was adjourned for 30 minutes by the Speaker, following the incidents, later discussed a motion moved by the government chief whip Kishore Mohanty seeking suspension of Sai for the remainder of the short session.

Senior Congress members Narasingha Mishra and Nalinikanta Mohanty pleaded with the chair that the motion should have been moved after a discussion with the Opposition as it was intended to punish a member.

The Opposition members said three incidents had taken place which should be analysed before any decision was taken against the Congress member.

First, they wanted to know as to under whose instructions the security personnel asked the TV crews to pack up mid-way through the question hour.

Stating that they did not support Saiís action, they said the Speaker should take into consideration the circumstances under which the legislator behaved in such a fashion.

And finally the circumstances under which the chief minister was injured should be ascertained. óPTI

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