|Sushil Kumar Modi and (right) Nitish Kumar
Patna, July 24: Proceedings in the Bihar Legislative Council hit a new low today when a section of JDU and BJP members hurled abuses and almost came to blows in the Well of the House even after adjournment.
Following the incident, BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi alleged that he had been insulted by JDU MLC Sanjay Singh at the behest of former chief minister Nitish Kumar. BJP MLCs boycotted the House proceedings for the day.
Nitish made an emotional speech in the council, stating that he had been hurt by the charges made against his conduct, which challenged his 30 years of experience as a parliamentarian.
The incident occurred just after question hour, when Modi was raising a query on the social welfare department’s dwindling stipend for OBC and EBC students studying in technical institutes.
First, BJP members taunted the government for making Bima Bharati, a woman who can neither speak nor write, a minister. “What sort of Brand Bihar are you projecting,” Modi taunted. Modi then pointed out that in 2011-12, the stipend for OBC and EBC students studying in technical institutes was Rs 1 lakh per year but it was reduced to Rs 75,000 and Rs 15,000 in 2012-13 and 2013-14, respectively. The reduction left several OBC and EBC students in the lurch.
Replying on the government’s behalf, water resources minister Vijay Kumar Chaudhary justified the reduction, saying the government was continuing the scheme in spite of central funds not being given. Just as the chairman called for the next question to be taken up, JDU’s Sanjay Singh, seated next to Nitish, objected to Modi addressing the minister as Chaudharyji instead of honourable minister.
Sanjay Singh went on to say that Modi had the habit of standing up and intervening on virtually every issue. This infuriated Modi and the BJP members trooped into the Well to protest, forcing chairman Awadhesh Narayan Singh to adjourn the House. However, BJP state president Mangal Pandey and a few other MLCs continued to move towards Sanjay Singh’s seat menacingly. BJP and JDU members were seen pushing each other. Senior legislators had to rush in to prevent them from exchanging blows.
Addressing the media later, Modi accused Nitish of instigating Sanjay Singh to hurl abuses at him. “The government had no reply to the question of cutting the financial support of OBC and EBC students and in their frustration, abuses were hurled at us. Nitishji keeps a band of MLCs which he uses for such purpose,” he said, announcing the boycott of proceedings by BJP MLCs for the day.
“I feel deeply hurt and anguished over the charge made against me. I have been in various legislative Houses for the last 30 years. My life is an open book and I want justice for myself,” Nitish said, threatening not to come to the House until his name was cleared.
The council chairman said he was pained by the incident and given a clean chit to Nitish after seeing the footage of the proceedings.