Congress MLA Taraprasad Bahinipati evoked peals of laughter in the Assembly on Tuesday when he blew a flying kiss to Speaker S N Patro after being allowed to raise issues faced by his constituency. The Jeypore MLA, who was the first to ask questions in the House, clarified that he did not mean to insult Patro and that the gesture was a mark of gratitude towards the speaker.
"I wanted to thank the Speaker. The flying kiss was a mark of my appreciation for him as he showed concern for the backward areas in my constituencies.
"I am indebted to the Speaker for giving me the opportunity among the 147 members of the House to raise the first question," Bahinipati told reporters outside the Assembly.
Among other issues, the MLA drew the government's attention to the drinking water problems in his constituency. The lawmaker had last week raised eyebrows when he approached Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on the first day of the winter session and asked, "Apana Khusi Ta? (Sir, Are you happy?)" Patnaik had promptly responded, saying "Mu Bahut Khushi. (I am very happy)"
The BJD president, during his election campaigns earlier this year, often asked voters if they were happy. The phrase has gained such popularity in the state that T-shirts with 'Apana Khusi ta' written on them are being sold online.