Hotel brawl latest in VIP tantrum

Patna: Bihar is no stranger to VIP tantrums, the latest being the brawl at a hotel in the Bengal temple town of Tarapith involving BJP urban development and housing minister Suresh Kumar Sharma and a few members of his entourage.

Sharma's entourage have accused the hotel staff of manhandling them. The hotel staff have returned the fire.

With both sides heaping blame on each other, the truth may not ever come out nor responsibility be ever fixed.

However, Bihar's VIPs are known for throwing their weight about, especially if ministers or legislators, who fall in the categories of "musclemen" or "money bags" are involved. There have many such incidents, some have attracted much attention, while the rest have gone unnoticed or got dissipated in murmurs.

Senior politicians pointed out that there was a marked increase in the trend of tantrums by VIPs of the state after RJD chief Lalu Prasad came to power.

"It ushered in an era in which musclemen legislators, many with criminal backgrounds, threw tantrums everywhere and common people would cower in front of them. The trend saw a sharp decline after Nitish Kumar came to power. We believe that all are equal and we don't believe in VIP or VVIP status," Janata Dal United (JDU) spokesperson and legislator Neeraj Kumar said.

Yet the vestiges of the tantrum syndrome still remain.

Just two years ago, Lok Sabha member from Madhepura and Jan Adhikar Party (JAP) chief Pappu Yadav (who started his political career as an independent and then had a long innings with RJD), allegedly threw a fit while travelling on a flight operated by a private airline.

The hefty muscleman, who happens to be a five-time MP and lives with a Robin Hood image, had refused to push his seat upright while the aircraft took off and landed. He would not switch off his cell phone and all entreaties by the crew members fell on deaf ears.

Pappu then demanded that the crew members clean food crumbs scattered near his feet and he allegedly manhandled an airhostess while on his way out after landing at the Delhi airport.

Pappu had denied all these charges and bolstered his claim by pointing out that no police complaint was filed against him.

In another incident, Surendra Yadav, an RJD legislator and muscleman from Belaganj in Gaya district, exploded over being made to wait at a tilkut (a sweet made of sesame and sugar) shop after placing the order.

The incident happened in 2014 and Surendra allegedly attacked the shopkeeper with revolver butt over the "humiliation" meted out to him. However, he got it back when the shopkeeper splashed and scalded him with boiling oil. Both sides had registered FIRs against each other.

Another former legislator Jyoti Kumari of the Congress, has been dubbed as the "tantrum queen" among VIPs after she went into a rage and destroyed several flower pots kept at the Bihar Legislative Council premises in 2010 for being suspended from the proceedings of the House.

Jyoti, a postgraduate in political science who also holds a doctorate degree, uprooted plants and swung them around till she became exhausted and fainted. She was dragged away from the premises by Legislative Council marshals.


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