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Odisha’s SC/ST MLAs plead with CM on reservation

Bhubaneswar : The Odisha assembly on Friday witnessed an unusual scene when opposition MLAs belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Tribes fell at Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s feet and begged for the implementation of a reservation law.

The MLAs have been staging a sit-in strike for the past three days in support of the Odisha Reservation of Vacancies (ORV) Act that ensures 38 percent quota for SC/ST students in medical and engineering colleges in the state.

The legislators, who staged a sit-in near the speaker’s podium, suddenly approached the chief minister and made the dramatic gesture of falling at his feet to plead for the implementation of the reservation law.

The Speaker adjourned the house till 12.30 p.m.

The chief minister did not respond to their demand and left the house.

“We followed our Odia culture to put forth our demands. We fell at his feet but he had scant regard for us,” said Congress MLA Prafulla Majhi.

He said lawmakers of the ruling Biju Janata Dal did not join them on their demand.

“Irrespective of the party affiliations, all legislators should join us in support of our legitimate demand to benefit SC/ST communities,” Majhi added.

BJP lawmaker Rabi Naik said they have not brought any disrepute to assembly’s sanctity by their act.

“We just raised a demand that is in the interests of 38 percent of the state’s population,” said the BJP MLA.

BJD spokesperson Sashibhusan Behera said: “The sanctity of the assembly should not be violated in any way. They should protest in a democratic way.”