ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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ORISSA-Concentrating on the Constitutional Niceties

Concentrating on the Constitutional Niceties LAST March, the Congress Chief Minister, Nandini Satpathy, faced with the mass desertion of 25 members of the Congress legislature party submitted the resignation of her ministry. The leader of the opposition, Biju Patnaik, backed by 71 MLA's staked his claim to form an alternative ministry before the Governor of Orissa. To the surprise of everyone, including members of the former Satpathy government who had come to attend the assembly session, the Governor, B D Jatti, abruptly prorogued the assembly minutes before it was to meet, Biju Patnaik originally had the backing of the Utkal Congress, the Swatan- tra party, the Jharkhand and a few independents, all of whom had clubbed themselves into a group known as the Orissa Pragati Legislature Party, and elected him their leader. The strength of the Pragati party rose to 70 with the defection of 25 Congress legislators at midnight on February 28, 1973, It must be mentioned that of the 25 defectors, 16 were originally Utkal Congress legislators, five were former Swatantra MLAs, two had been elected to the assembly on the Jharkhand ticket and two had been independents. And it was with the support of these chronic defectors that the Congress had formed a ministry in Orissa in June 1972, after having wrecked the United Front ministry headed by Biswanath Das. But finally, the defection syndrome had boome- ranged on the Congress. In March, with the written support of two CPM . MLAs, Biju Patnaik's Pragati party had the ch "ar mandate of 72 legislators in a House of 140.

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