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Turmoil in Bihar assembly even as speaker takes the Chair

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Patna: The Bihar assembly on Wednesday morning was adjourned till 2 pm within minutes of commencement of proceedings as the opposition kept demanding an apology from Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for the alleged insult of Speaker Vijay Kumar Sinha, ignoring pleas by the latter to forget the “kaala adhyay” (dark chapter) and move on.

The speaker, who had excused himself from attending the House on Tuesday, was in the Chair after a late-night meeting with the chief minister which seemed like an attempt at reconciliation.

The treasury benches were visibly miffed at the opposition which had a field day fishing in troubled waters and stalled proceedings for the most part of Tuesday.

In their statements, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Vijay Kumar Chaudhary, who belongs to the chief minister’s JD(U) as well as Deputy CM Tarkishor Prasad, a BJP leader like the speaker, taunted the opposition for making a big fuss over “prestige of the House”.

They alleged, it was “trampled upon in March last year” when the speaker was held hostage inside his chamber for several hours until the police came and physically evicted the unruly MLAs.

Opposition members kept creating a ruckus, some of them in the Well and others at their seats, demanding “safaai” (explanation) and “maafi” (apology) from the chief minister while a statement by the speaker, who recited from former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s poem “kadam mila kar chalna hoga” (we must march, matching steps) but to be of no avail.

The speaker, towards whom disrespect by some police officials in his assembly constituency and the repeated references to the matter inside the House had riled the chief minister, urged the opposition members to have patience till March 25 when the Privilege Committee meeting is scheduled.

“The chief minister has also assured that he will not allow the honor of this august House to be diminished. The ruling side and the opposition are like two eyes and both must function in harmony,” he said.

As the opposition members appeared in no mood to relent, the House was adjourned till 2 pm.

At the centre of the controversy is the arrest of some people, close to the BJP, for violation of the prohibition law in Lakhisarai, which is represented by Sinha, during the Saraswati Puja celebrations last month.

Sinha had been livid that while “mere spectators” were rounded up, organisers of the event, said to be close to JD(U) national president Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan, had been allowed to go scot-free.

On Monday, an MLA had raised a query inside the House as to whether there have been any “kurki-jabti” (attachment of property) of the organisers, in accordance with the provisions of the prohibition law.

Minister Bijendra Yadav, a veteran JD(U) leader, replied on behalf of the government that “investigations were on”.

The speaker asked the minister to apprise the House of the progress in the matter two days later, which evoked a stunning outburst from the chief minister, footage of which has been beamed by all news channels.

Opposition leaders have deplored the “body language” of the CM who spoke in an admonitory tone, waving an angry finger at the speaker.

An opposition MLA summed up the matter before journalists, saying “both engines of double engine government have collided. Now there is fire and smoke all around”.

This report is auto-generated from PTI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.

Also read: Bihar BJP livid with ally Mukesh Sahani, seeks his removal for attacking PM Modi, CM Yogi

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