| JDU and BJP (second from left) members clash with each other outside the Assembly on Thursday. Picture by Deepak Kumar |
The acrimony between the JDU and the BJP took an ugly turn today with some legislators of both the parties pushing, shoving and snatching posters and placards of each other at the portico of the Assembly, a little before the start of the day’s proceedings at 11am.
The tussle for space to protest started when legislators of the JDU and the BJP assembled in large numbers at the portico. The JDU members were protesting against the controversial remarks of the BJP’s Haryana leader O.P. Dhankar on brides from Bihar for Haryana boys. They were also demanding the arrest of BJP MP Giriraj Singh after the recovery of huge cash and valuables allegedly stolen from his house. The BJP legislators were agitating against the police firing at Rohtas on Tuesday in which two persons were killed.
Usha Sinha, the JDU MLA from Hilsa in Nalanda district, told PTI that she had lost one of her earrings and suffered scratches when some BJP members fought with her to snatch the poster she was carrying. BJP legislator from Paliganj in Patna district Usha Vidyarthi, on the other hand, complained that she was pushed by the JDU women members.
The ugly scene ended when some senior members of both sides intervened.
Inside the House, the question hour went on smoothly after three days. In response to a question by Achudanand of the BJP, urban development minister Samrat Choudhary conceded that the Rs 426-crore water supply project in Patna was in a limbo. The deadline of the scheme approved by the Union government under the JNNURM was 2014 but the minister said the work had been initiated in only 19 wards out of 72.
“We are thinking of blacklisting the company Gammon India. But there is a shortcoming on our part also. We failed to provide land for the overhead tanks,” the minister said, conceding that the delay in the project had escalated its price by over Rs 122 crore, which the state government would have to bear.
The Leader of the Opposition, Nand Kishore Yadav, criticised the state government for not holding a meeting of Patna MLAs to monitor the project. “Even if the overhead tanks could not be constructed because of land shortage, other works like the construction of the water treatment plant and laying of pipes could have been carried out,” he said.
The calm of the question hour was lost in the zero hour, as the BJP members trooped into the Well demanding acceptance of an adjournment notice given by their two colleagues Arun Kumar Sinha and Kankiah Kumar for taking up the issue of police firing in Rohtas. Yadav pressed the speaker to take up the adjournment notice first.
Parliamentary affairs minister Shrawan Kumar said the government was prepared to present a statement on the Rohtas firing and hence, there was no point in the BJP members entering into the Well. Speaker Chaudhary asked the agitating BJP legislators to return to seats, but they defied the order. The Speaker adjourned the House till 2pm after the BJP members refused to budge from the Well.