| Senior BJP leaders sit with Giriraj Singh (third from left) and Ramadhar Singh (fifth from left) on the Assembly lawns on Friday. Picture by Deepak Kumar |
BJP leaders Giriraj Singh and Ramadhar Singh on Friday sat on an indefinite dharna on the state legislature lawns to protest against allegations made by JD(U) MLA Manjit Kumar Singh.
During the Assembly proceedings on Thursday, Manjit accused the two former ministers of the NDA government of favouring private insurance companies and committing irregularities worth Rs 100 crore during their respective tenures as minister of the co-operative department.
Supporting Manjit, industries minister Renu Kumari had announced that the state vigilance investigation bureau would investigate the matter.
As the Assembly proceedings began at 11am, both leaders met at the portico of the Assembly building and walked off to the lawns. Just then, water resources minister Vijay Kumar Choudhary was entering the Assembly. Ramadhar stopped him and said: “We are going to sit on a dharna now and we will prove who the thief is, your government or both of us.”
Choudhary said: “Oh, so for that purpose a blanket has already been placed on the lawns.”
Ajit Kumar, JD(U) MLA from Kanti Assembly seat in Muzaffarpur district, was also entering the Assembly and overheard their conversation. Ajit said in a lighter vein: “Not to worry, we have already asked the Assembly doctor to be on alert.”
Then Giriraj and Ramdhar sat on the blanket covered with a printed bedsheet on the lawns. Before Ramadhar, former animal and fish resources minister Giriraj had headed the co-operative department.
As soon as they sat, Ramadhar said: “All JD(U) ministers are corrupt and busy in collecting money for the coming general elections. I challenge the government to bring that file in the public domain in which we have favoured any insurance company. The notification regarding crop insurance was done on June 13, 2013, and on June 16, Nitish broke the alliance. Since then the chief minister handles the co-operative department. Both us have decided to sit here till the chief minister apologises to us.”
Attacking Nitish, Giriraj said: “How can anyone make such a wild allegation? It has been done on the instructions of the chief minister and he must apologise for this. I am here for politics not for prostitution. First, he (read Nitish Kumar) should show us the proof and then apologise to both of us.”
Seeing the dharna, Leader of Opposition Nand Kishore Yadav, BJP state unit president Mangal Pandey and other former ministers met the duo. Nand Kishore even requested them to end the dharna.
Around 12noon, Nitish entered the Assembly portico but he did not look at them and went directly to his chamber. Around 1pm, Nitish came of the Assembly to speak to the media on the issue of the Centre giving special status to Seemandhra.
Interaction over, Nitish started walking towards the Assembly building, when Giriraj pointed his finger at him and shouted: “You have not done the right thing, Nitishji, and you have to apologise for this. You have made wrong allegations against us. I am in active politics for the past 40 years and I have never done anything like this. I am going to sit on dharna until you apologise or I will die here.”
Looking at them, Nitish smiled and waved his hand before going inside.
Former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi said: “The government is trying to malign the BJP’s name by levelling this baseless allegation. It is very unfortunate.”