A combative Opposition disrupted proceedings in both Houses of the Bihar Legislature on Monday to press for the acceptance of its adjournment motions articulating law and order concerns arising out of the recent murder of Patna University professor Papiya Ghosh.
The protestors raised such a din that the Assembly had to be adjourned without transacting most of the business scheduled for the day. An exception to this overall position were the recently-notified rules providing better pay and perks for legislators, Ministers and a variety of legislative officers, which were tabled despite the pandemonium.
Trouble in the State Assembly arose as soon as the House was called to order. Demanding immediate acceptance of Papiya killing-related joint adjournment motion of Shakeel Ahmad Khan (RJD) and others, the RJD-led Opposition members started raising slogans against the government and rushed to the well.
The protestors were carrying posters demanding the arrest of the murderer of Papiya Ghosh and a judicial inquiry into the recent Bagaha killings. Leader of the Opposition Rabri Devi was there to guide her party MLAs but the most in her flock was Dhanaha MLA Rajesh Singh, resplendent in a green cap and matching angvastram.
Unable to persuade them to return to their seats, Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary said he was "expunging" everything. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ramashray Prasad Singh's intervention asking the Opposition to state its case, spurred a fresh bout of slogan-shouting. At 11.18 am, the Speaker adjourned the House till noon.
On resumption, the Speaker said he was willing to allow the Opposition its say but only after two matters had been taken care of. The protestors would have none of this. Amid the rumpus, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister sneaked in the enhanced pay-perks rules and Finance Minister Sushil Modi placed the Rs 404.04-crore second supplementary budget in the House.
It was only at this stage, rather than at the outset, that the Speaker formally announced the rejection of the Opposition-sponsored adjournment motion on the ground that it did not conform to the attending rules. He then called out the names of its individual sponsors, asking them if they had anything to say in the matter.
The names called out were those of Shakeel Ahmad Khan (RJD), Ashok Kumar (Cong), Ramdeo Verma (CPI-M), Maheshwar Singh (LJP) and Arun Singh. None of them responded. Thereafter, the Speaker adjourned the House till Tuesday.
In Council: The Papiya murder case rocked the Legislative Council too. A united Opposition pressing CPI-M member Basudeo Singh's adjournment motion on the killing, paralysed the functioning of the House for more than three hours before normalcy was restored. Another motion placed was of Mishri Lal Yadav, seeking more powers for Panchayati Raj bodies.
Members belonging to the RJD, Congress, Lok Janshakti Party and the Left stormed into the well and started shouting slogans against the government, as soon as the House was called to order. Holding placards criticising the law and order situation in the state, they were demanding a CBI inquiry of Prof Papiya Ghosh and a judicial probe into the Bagaha killings.
Refusing to pay heed to Acting Chairman Arun Kumar's pleas to return to their seats, the Opposition members insisted that they be allowed to move both the adjournment motion immediately. Congress MLC Jyoti sat on the floor, while Sanjay Singh (LJP), Ghulam Ghaus, Mishri Lal Yadav, Nawal Kishore Yadav (all RJD), Kedar Pandey (CPI), Basudeo Singh and others continued to raise slogans.
As the pandemonium continued, the Acting Chairman adjourned the House till lunch break. When it reassembled, the Opposition resumed its protest. This caused a further adjournment till 2.30 pm. Calm returned after the Acting Chairman said he would consider the demand and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi said the NDA regime was prepared for a debate on the issue.