In perhaps the rarest development in democratic India—or may be elsewhere too—the Speaker of Bihar Assembly Vijay Kumar Sinha on Tuesday (March 17) adjourned the House after his verbal duel with a minister in the Nitish Kumar cabinet.
Incidentally, both the speaker and the minister, Samrat Chaudhary belong to the Bharatiya Janata Party, the major constituent of the ruling National Democratic Alliance.
It all started over the use of word ‘vyakul’ (showing impatience) by the minister when the Speaker tried to interrupt the former.
Vijay Sinha was upset over the use of the word and the aggressive manner in which the minister was addressing him. When the Speaker objected to such unparliamentary utterances and asked him to take these words back, Samrat Chaudhary, not a first-time minister, hit back as to what is wrong in them. Instead of showing any regret the minister continued to annoy the Speaker by repeatedly using the word ‘vyakul’. He didn’t stop there. The angry minister said that the Speaker cannot give direction and run the House in such a way.
This verbal exchange between the Speaker and a senior member of the House, who happens to be a minister, stunned the House. Upon this Vijay Sinha adjourned the House till 12:00 noon. But the Speaker didn’t turn up. It was only after lunch that following the intervention of Parliamentary Affairs Minister Vijay Kumar Chaudhary (himself a former Speaker of Bihar Assembly) that Samrat Chaudhary agreed to apologise.
In fact, the Opposition bench in Bihar is these days showing more discipline than the Treasury bench.
For example, a day earlier none else but the deputy chief minister of Bihar Tarkishore Prasad while referring to the leader of opposition in the Assembly, Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, without taking the name of the Speaker said that one person is getting ‘sanrakshan’ (protection) in the House. The deputy CM too is of the same party, the BJP.
Old timers are of the view that such behaviour from the BJP legislators in Bihar has a long history. When they were in the Opposition during the 15-year Lalu-Rabri rule they used to create ruckus in the House almost daily. Similar was the situation between June 16, 2013 and July 27, 2017 when they again became a part of the opposition bench. Even their senior MLAs would pay no respect to the Speaker.
“It is difficult to say whether the senior ministers are indulging in all sorts of misbehaviour consciously, or is it the case of old habits dying hard,” commented a journalist who had covered Bihar Assembly proceedings for several years.
Anyway, only a few days back chief minister Nitish Kumar lost his temper at an RJD MLC in the Bihar Legislative Council while he was asking a question from him.
Political pundits were surprised over the way the chief minister over-reacted when the RJD MLC was not behaving like Samrat Chaudhary.
Perhaps, Nitish chose an RJD MLC to admonish the behaviour of the BJP members of both the Houses, said a Bihar watcher.