| BJP MLCs protest against the state government at the Assembly in Patna on Thursday. Picture by Deepak Kumar |
Patna, July 3: The JDU and the BJP legislators almost came to blows today over finance minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav’s remarks regarding the conduct of BJP MLAs, which was expunged by the Speaker.
The BJP and the JDU legislators entered the Well of the House around 5.30pm after Dal MLA Manjit Singh’s query on the implementation of Food Security Act, which could not be taken up during the question hour, was being discussed. Before the situation took any ugly turn, Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary adjourned the House and legislators of both the parties left.
“Bijendra used unparliamentary words and tried to intimidate us after food and consumer affairs minister Shyam Rajak was unable to reply to our questions,” said the Leader of the Opposition, Nand Kishore Yadav.
The Food Security Act was implemented in Bihar from February 1 this year. Till date, the state government has not been able to give fresh cards to over 18 lakh families after the cancellation of BPL ration cards. The BPL cardholders have not been given subsidised food grains for the past five months.
Rajak passed the buck on the Centre and said it did not allot adequate foodgrain. He also pointed out the lack of storage capacity of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) in the state. He blamed the BJP for the non-distribution of new cards for the targeted population.
Rajak’s statement triggered protests from the BJP. Nand Kishore, the Leader of the Opposition, questioned the motive of the state government behind implementing the Food Security Act from February 1. “You were not prepared with the new cards. You did not distribute the new cards, you did not have adequate food grains and yet you announced the scheme hoping that the poor will vote for you,” Nand Kishore said.
Immediately Bijendra made the unparliamentary remark and hell broke loose with the BJP and the JDU legislators hurling abuses at each other. The situation was so noisy that it was difficult to hear what the MLAs said to each other. Earlier, the House passed the budgetary demand of around Rs 2,500 crore for education for the financial year 2014-15 amid a walkout by the BJP in protest against the alleged failure of education minister Brishen Patel to answer to its queries. The minister pointed out that when they came to power there were little over 52,000 primary schools. The number has now gone beyond 73,000, he said. Patel said against 1.46 lakh primary teachers in 2005, there were more than 4 lakh teachers.
BJP MLA Rameshwar Chaurasia led the attack against the government when he questioned the quality of teachers appointed.
During the question hour, MLAs questioned the wisdom of withdrawing investigations from the vigilance bureau into private insurance companies’ act of downplaying damages of farmers because of a cyclone last year. Chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi intervened in the matter and assured the House that he would look into the matter.
Seven thousand rowdy elements were caught from outside schools and colleges in the state capital in the past six months, the state government informed the Legislative Council today. Those caught during a special drive were taken to respective police stations and were let off only after filling of bonds in presence of their parents, minister in-charge for home department Vijay Kumar Chaudhary said in a reply to a short notice question of BJP’s Nawal Kishore Yadav.