Bihar Assembly: Ruling JD(U) joins Oppn in skipping afternoon sitting

Published on Jun 28, 2022 09:41 PM IST
While the Opposition in Bihar has been demanding a discussion in the House on Agnipath recruitment scheme for armed forces, JD(U) has officially pushed for a rethink on the scheme.
RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav interacts with media outside the Bihar Assembly on Tuesday. (Santosh Kumar/HT Photo)
RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav interacts with media outside the Bihar Assembly on Tuesday. (Santosh Kumar/HT Photo)
ByArun Kumar and Anirban Guha Roy, Patna

Chief minister Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal-United on Tuesday skipped the post-lunch sitting of Bihar Legislative Assembly, which was kept for a discussion on the yardsticks for selection of best legislator, an idea proposed earlier by Speaker Vijay Kumar Sinha.

As soon as the second half commenced, empty opposition benches and skeletal presence of JD(U) members made it amply clear that the purpose of organising a discussion would be defeated.

As BJP member Sanjay Saraogi started the proceedings with his statement on the yardsticks for selection of best legislator, JD(U) legislator Rajkumar, who was present in the House, said there was no quorum in the House. Five-six legislators and ministers of JD(U) also gradually made their way out, leaving only BJP legislators in the treasury benches.

Later, Speaker Sinha adjourned the House, lamenting that the discussion could not take place despite being agreed upon at the business advisory committee meeting. “I don’t know why the most of the JD(U) members were not present. This was a topic which could offend none. As far as the Opposition is concerned, I have categorically said their demand for discussion on Agnipath scheme could not be accepted, as the issues was not related to the House,” he said.

While the Opposition in Bihar has been demanding a discussion in the House on Agnipath recruitment scheme for armed forces, JD(U) has officially pushed for a rethink on the scheme.

Meanwhile, leader of opposition in the assembly, Tejaswhi Prasad Yadav of the RJD, said his party legislators would boycott the remaining two days of the monsoon session if their demand was not met and would sit on dharna outside.

JD(U)’s absence, however, became a bigger topic of discussion, with some party leaders saying that the discussion on the best legislator’s selection was not required and the manner in which the Speaker sought support from the members on the decision to earmark a chamber for the legislators at the block and district level offices so that they could take up matters related to public also did not go down well with the senior JD(U) leadership. “It was a decision the government would have announced,” they said.

When reached for comment, Speaker Sinha said, “I tried to run the House despite Opposition’s continuing protest, as I cannot allow public money to go waste. In the second half also, there was quorum , but it was unfortunate to see skeletal presence for a discussion on an important topic, which is getting due importance even in the Parliament and several other states. Such an exercise is aimed at improving the efficiency of legislature,” he said.

The Speaker said both the opposition and treasury benches would require to do some serious thinking on it. “Even on Agnipath scheme, I allowed Opposition leaders to speak. I would have allowed the leader of Opposition also to speak had he been present in the House. He was not to be seen. When the House was adjourned on Tuesday, he entered. House requires proper attendance and meaningful discussions and I hope the leaders cooperate in future,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Opposition parties in Bihar continued their protests against the Agnipath scheme the assembly.

As soon as the house sat for the day, members of opposition parties like RJD, Congress and the Left came to the well of the house and started sloganeering against the central government while demanding a discussion in the house to pass a resolution against the scheme.

Din prevailed in the house for almost half an hour with ministerial replies to questions hardly audible even as Speaker Vijay Kumar Sinha made requests to the agitating opposition MLAs to resume to their seats.

Amid noisy scenes, the Speaker adjourned the house till 12 pm .He also called a meeting of leaders of all major parties in his chamber.

RJD MLA Bhai Birendra said they apprised the Speaker that a discussion under rule 43 of the rules of the legislative business should be allowed on the Agnipath scheme.

“We want a discussion on Agnipath scheme under rule 43 of the rules of legislative business, which allows any subject of general public importance to be discussed inside the house on a motion made with the consent of the Speaker. Then we want a resolution to be passed against the scheme from the house,” he said.

As the house reassembled, the opposition members once again continued their protests. Within the next few minutes, the house was once again adjourned till 2 pm.

On Monday too, the house had witnessed noisy scenes by the opposition members who wanted to have a discussion on the Agnipath scheme .

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