The Odisha Assembly witnessed repeated adjournments today amid an uproar by the Congress and the BJP members over ritual management at Shree Jagannath Temple in Puri.
As soon as the House assembled for the day, the Congress and the BJP legislators rose on their feet to protest against what they alleged was a “disruption in temple service” yesterday.
As repeated pleas to allow proceedings during the Question Hour were ignored, the speaker adjourned the House till 11.30 am.
When the members reassembled, the issue cropped up once again during the Zero Hour with the opposition members creating a fresh ruckus in the Assembly.
Unable to run the House, the speaker adjourned the proceedings again till 12.50 pm.
As the deadlock continued in the House, the Speaker announced adjournment for the third time till 3pm and called for an all-party meeting to resolve the issue.
In the post-lunch session, the Assembly witnessed at least two more adjournments.
The disruption of rituals since yesterday at Shri Jagannath temple was condemnable “as both the lord and the devotees were deprived of Mahaprasad”, Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra told reporters outside the House.
Alleging negligence on the part of the ruling dispensation, Mishra said the government should have held consultations with the servitors’ bodies in this regard.
The incident has “hurt the sentiments of the devotees, not just in Odisha but across the world”, senior BJP legislator Pradip Purohit claimed.
Official sources said a row between the servitors and Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) had led to the impasse yesterday.
The servitors staged a sit-in outside the temple, seeking compensation for the losses incurred due to wastage of ‘Mahaprasad’ following the delay in ritual observation.
Voicing concern over the situation, the chief whip of BJD government, Amar Prasad Satpathy, clarified that the state government is “fully aware” of the situation and necessary steps will be taken to prevent the recurrence of such incidents.
The issues related to Lord Jagannath “should not be politicized”, he added.