The Bihar assembly on Monday witnessed a war of words between chief minister Nitish Kumar and opposition leader Nand Kishore Yadav over the minister in-charge replying to certain queries instead of the CM, who held those portfolios.
During a starred question of BJP's Sachindra Prasad Singh, regarding fencing of 'kabrastans' (muslim graveyards), when the minister in-charge Vijay Kumar Chaudhary rose to speak there was an outcry by the opposition BJP who demanded that the CM, who has Home portfolio, should reply.
As the verbal duel went on, Kumar reminded opposition leader that this has been in practice since the days BJP was a partner of the government.
"Don't you remember that many questions related to Home, General Administration department, Election department and Cabinet Coordination department under me had been answered by the minister in-charge during NDA regime?" he asked Yadav.
Kumar said since the government is a collective responsibility of the cabinet, it fell within the democratic convention that any minister could be delegated to answer a question of another department.
But, this did not mollify the opposition leader who said, "if you have pain in neck or sore throat due to which you have delegated a minister to answer in his place he should say this to the House."
On this the CM in a lighter vein said "...my neck, throat and stomach are perfectly alright."
The CM's repartee calmed the opposition for some time but they again protested when in-charge minister answered other questions.
Some BJP members like Janak Singh and Binod Narayan Jha refused to ask questions on Home department as there was no assurance from the treaury bench that these would be replied by the CM.