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Bihar Assembly: Speaker, Minister Exchange Angry Words

Bihar Assembly: Speaker, Minister Exchange Angry Words

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NEW DELHI, Mar 17: Heated exchanges between speaker and the opposition members is not an unusual feature, but a spat between the speaker and a minister, both happen to belonged to the BJP, stunned the Bihar Assembly on Wednesday.

The incident occurred during the question hour when the speaker Vijay Kumar Sinha, who was a minister in the last NDA government, pointed to the panchayat minister Samrat Chaudhary that despite being instructed by his office to all the departments that the government’s written replies to the starred questions should also be sent to him online, his office did not receive all the replies to the questions related to the panchayati raj department marked for the day.

When the minister claimed that the replies were sent to the speaker’s office for 14 of the 16 questions marked for the day, the speaker informed the minister that he had received only 11 replies, to which the minister said, “vyakul hone se kaam nahin chalega” (getting restless will not do).

The speaker felt slighted and asked the minister to “take back” his words even though Chaudhary dug in his heels and, waving a finger towards the Chair, said “you cannot run the House in this fashion”.

Unable to take it any longer, Sinha ordered adjournment of the proceedings for half an hour.

When the House re-assembled in the post-lunch session, the minister for parliamentary affairs Vijay Kumar Chaudhary rose and informed the chair that Samrat Chaudhary would like to express regret for the “unintentional insult” to the speaker.

Samrat Chaudhary rose and offered a brief apology after which normal business resumed.

The “humiliation” faced by the speaker since both belonged to the same party, earned him sympathy among the opposition.

CPI(ML) MLA Mahboob Alam and Congress legislator Shakeel Ahmed Khan demanded sacking of Samrat Chaudhary from the cabinet for the disrespect shown by him for the chair.

But the BJP sources had different story to tell. They claimed that there had been consternations over attempts by Sinha, a third term MLA, had developed the tendency to rub his own party colleagues the wrong way in a bid to appear as an “impartial”  speaker.

They pointed towards expression of dismay by Deputy Chief Minister Tarkishor Prasad a couple of days ago when he alleged that the chair was extending “sanrakshan” (patronage) to the belligerent leader of the opposition Tejashwi Yadav.

The opposition, on its part, has been charging that the treasury benches have been trying to “dictate to the chair.” This had forced Sinha to come out with a statement on the floor of the house on Tuesday asserting that charges leveled by the opposition as well as the treasury benches were “baseless.”

(Manas Dasgupta)

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