Patna, March 16 (PTI) RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav on Tuesday launched into a fresh tirade against the Nitish Kumar government in Bihar on the floor of the assembly, raising the hackles of the treasury benches which responded with fidgety interventions.
The leader of the opposition spoke for nearly an hour while taking part in the debate on budgetary demand for the Home department.
While concluding, he complained to the chair that much of his time was taken up by interruptions from the other side.
The budgetary demand for Rs 13973.24 crore was passed by voice vote and a cut motion moved by Congress MLA Vijay Shankar Dubey was defeated. From the government side, the reply to the debate came from senior cabinet member Bijendra Prasad Yadav.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who holds the home portfolio, did not speak though he was present in the House when the minister spoke.
The minister read out a written speech focusing on the need for hiring more police personnel and equipping them with better paraphernalia.
Yadav began his speech by quoting statistics to claim that crime rate in the state has increased substantially compared with the period when his parents Lalu Prasad and Rabri Devi helmed much-vilified governments.
He also rankled the government by raising the issue of the brother of a minister named in an FIR relating to recovery of large quantity of liquor from a school last year.
He, however, avoided mentioning the minister Ram Surat Rai of the BJP by name.
Referring to the death penalty awarded by a Gopalgunj court recently to nine persons involved in a hooch tragedy, Yadav quipped The government is busy cracking down on the carriers. It does not have the will to go after big-time suppliers.
Rai chose to vent some spleen on the floor of the House much after Yadav finished speaking.
He was allowed to make a personal clarification by the Speaker Vijay Kumar Sinha before the House was adjourned for the day in response to allegations which he dismissed as 'character assassination'.
Rai also said 'Tejashwi Yadav's father knows my family and I know theirs', a remark which evoked outrage from RJD legislators.
At one point, the causticity of the young opposition leaders became too much to bear for Sugarcane Minister Pramod Kumar, who rose in his seat, raging against a remark made by Yadav on the previous day which, he claimed, was a personal slight.
I had taken part in the JP movement of 1974 along with his father. I am a five-term MLA, fumed Pramod Kumar pointing towards Yadav who had on Monday while speaking about closed sugar mills in the state, remarked I wonder how people like you end up becoming ministers.
The RJD leader also took the opportunity to fish in the NDAs troubled waters, referring to a more than a decade- old episode in which Nitish Kumar had abruptly cancelled a dinner hosted for BJP leaders.
Without naming the minister for fisheries Mukesh Sahni, the founding chief of Vikassheel Insaan Party, Yadav scoffed at people getting cabinet berths despite losing elections and thereafter being handed over recharge coupons an allusion to the formers election to the legislative council from a seat of which the tenure expires next year.
This was followed by commotion as opposition legislators began shouting at the top of their voice that Pramod Kumar had pointed a fist at Tejashwi Yadav.
When Sinha sought an explanation, the minister said his gesture was being misread and he was referring to the peeth mein chhura bhonkna (backstabbing) Sahni had to suffer.
Sahni had been an RJD ally till he made a sudden exit on the day Tejashwi Yadav came out with the seat-sharing formula for Grand Alliance constituents and had made a condescending offer of accommodating VIP from our own quota of seats.
Upset over the frequent interruptions, Yadav at one stage was seen hissing at the treasury benches If you keep behaving like this, remember we will pay back in the same coin and will not allow to the chief minister to speak when he chooses to do so.
The 31-year-old leader was promptly told by the Speaker that the language was threatening and, hence, unacceptable.
Sinha also asked Yadav to make sure taht he places before the Chair a documentary proof while making any specific allegation on the floor.
Yadav also questioned the governments policy of rewarding top bureaucrats with plush postings after they superannuate at a time when it was slapping compulsory retirement among the lower ranks.
The fireworks between the ruling side and the opposition continued even after Yadav was done with his speech. Mahboob Alam, an MLA of CPI(ML), which is an RJD ally, hit the roof when an NDA legislator uttered the word 'Maoist' to run the Left leader down.
No Maoist can become a member of this House. I demand that the government come out with a statement as to whom does it consider a Maoist. People cannot become abusive in the name of criticism, fumed Alam, whom the Speaker assured that the objectionable remark will be expunged from the proceedings.
BJP legislators, however, sought to rub some more salt into the wounds with chants of Jai Sri Ram.
The Speaker had to assuage Alam with the plea This is not a slogan that can be deemed unparliamentary. PTI AR NAC KK KK