Members of the Congress party stalled the proceedings of the Odisha Assembly several times on Wednesday demanding a clarification from Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on the ruling Biju Janata Dal’s support to Bharatiya Janata Party’s nominee Aswini Kumar Vaishnaw in the Rajya Sabha bypolls in the State.‘Mining mafia links’The issue was raised by Congress Legislature Party leader Narasingha Mishra who accused Mr. Vaishnaw, a former IAS officer, of being hand in glove with the mining mafia. He claimed to have documents to show in how many mining scams Mr. Vaishnaw was involved.Mr. Mishra alleged that the BJP nominee’s name also “figured in the list of beneficiaries in the discretionary quota scam” pertaining to allotment of land and houses to influential persons in the State. The veteran Congress leaders sought to know how Mr. Vaishnaw’s candidature will help protect the interest of the State.Mr. Mishra criticised the BJP for making Mr. Vaishnaw its candidate for the Rajya Sabha. “The BJP has no moral right to claim to be the Opposition party in Odisha because it is hand in glove with the BJD,” he said.Slogans raisedSeveral Congress members also rushed to the well of the House raising slogans against the BJD and the BJP, alleging that both parties had nexus with mining companies.Speaker Surjya Narayan Patro adjourned the proceedings of the House at least five times before holding an all-party meeting to end the deadlock.Mr. Vaishnaw, who was in the Assembly premises to enquire about his candidature for the Rajya Sabha polls, told media persons that he had nothing to hide and will talk about the controversy once the election process was over.While announcing the names of Amar Patnaik and Sasmit Patra as BJD’s candidates for the Rajya Sabha bypolls, the Chief Minister had announced that his party will support the BJP nominee for the third seat.