It is not often that speakers of assemblies make pronouncements on affairs of state governments. Thus, it was only natural that eyebrows were raised when speaker Surya Narayan Patro, during an interaction with the media last Sunday, jumped the gun and said the government was considering re-imposition of “day curfew” in the state “in the 4-5 days” because of the upsurge in Covid cases. As if that was not enough, he also said chief minister Naveen Patnaik was discussing with senior health officials.
Predictably, all hell broke loose after the speaker’s remarks. Coming as it did from no less than the Speaker, speculation about the possible return of day curfew, lockdown/shutdown et al continued all day. The decision to impose night curfew in 10 western and southern districts bordering Chhattisgarh from Monday, announced by the state government, lent credence to the speaker’s statement. In any case, the rapid rise in coronavirus infections in Odisha since March 25 made it sound plausible.