| RJD and JDU legislators protest outside the Assembly on Monday over Dhankar’s remarks. Picture by Deepak Kumar |
Patna, July 7: Ruckus over Haryana BJP leader O.P. Dhankar’s controversial Bihar bride promise if his party won the Assembly polls and drug supply scandal today disrupted proceedings of both the Houses.
For the first time in the present Assembly, the ruling JDU and the RJD MLAs entered the Well of the House condemning Dhankar’s statement as an assault on Bihari pride. The BJP legislators trooped to the Well demanding a CBI probe into the drug scam. The budgetary demand for water resources department to the tune of over Rs 2,500 crore was passed without a debate as the House was adjourned five times.
Assembly Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary had to adjourn the House within five minutes after the proceedings started as MLAs rushed from all sides into the Well, raising slogans in favour of their demands. Parliamentary affairs minister Srawan Kumar, who condemned the BJP MLAs’ behaviour in the House on Friday, provoked his MLAs to enter the Well today.
The JDU and the RJD legislators also condemned BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi for defending Dhankar’s statement and demanded an apology. RJD leader Abdul Bari Siddiqui wanted a censure motion to be moved in the House. But the speaker ignored his demand.
Chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi described Dhankar’s statement as shameful and said it was an insult to the women of Bihar. “What Modi has said in Dhankar’s defence is even more shameful,” he said.
Speaking on the drug scam, the chief minister said the government had instituted a high-level probe. “We shall take action against the guilty. If I find the probe unsatisfactory, I shall hand it over to another agency,” he said but ruled out the possibility of handing the case to the CBI. “We have better agencies than the CBI,” Manjhi said.
Senior BJP leader Modi and the party’s Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, Nand Kishore Yadav, briefed reporters about the drug scam and alleged that the JDU and the RJD had raised the Dhankar issue to deviate public attention from the scam to the tune of Rs 67 crore.
“A PIL has been filed in Patna High Court on purchasing drugs from blacklisted companies and the court has taken cognisance of it. Sub-standard medicines were being purchased for government hospitals at inflated rates,” said Modi, pointing out that one Arvind Sah had died in Bhagalpur Medical College after being injected a sub-standard drug.
Sah was suffering from an ear ailment.
Modi said the entire purchase and supply was done when former chief minister Nitish Kumar had the health portfolio. He dubbed the probe being conducted by the state government as a cover-up.
He also defended Dhankar, stressing that the Haryana BJP leader had meant to stop the selling off of poor girls to be forcibly married off to persons in Haryana. “Dhankar meant that Bihari girls should be brought to Haryana legally married. Even Lalu Prasad’s three daughters are married to grooms hailing from Haryana. There is nothing wrong in it. It’s the JDU and the RJD leaders who should be ashamed that they are doing nothing to save these poor girls,” Modi said.
Inspector-general (weaker sections) Arvind Pandey has, meanwhile, asked superintendents of police in north Bihar and some in south Bihar to furnish a list of girls taken to Haryana for marriage.