The budget session of the Bihar assembly got off to a rocky start on Monday as ruckus over the State’s liquor policy and the demand for inclusion of ‘surya namaskar’ led to heated exchanges in the house.
Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MLA Dinesh Prasad Singh caused a stir when he sat with liquor bottles outside the assembly hall to protest the government’s liquor policy. “Liquor is the main culprit behind 98 per cent of the crimes in the State. The government celebrates one day as alcohol-free day while liquor is sold round the year. The shops have proliferated everywhere, even near schools and temples. Around 40 per cent of patients in hospitals are suffering from ailments related to alcohol abuse. I am going to demand a ban on the sale of liquor. The government should show the people what is the extent of revenue loss because of this,” Mr. Singh told The Hindu.
The Opposition also accused the Janata Dal (United)-Bharatiya Janata Party government of imposing the ‘surya namaskar’ in schools.
A controversy had erupted recently over a Bihar government circular making ‘surya namaskar’ mandatory in schools. Some Muslim groups had appealed to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for making the exercise optional, which was then amended.
In another development, Congress MLC Jyoti Devi tried to disrupt Governor Devanand Konwar’s address of the joint session of State legislature over the appointment of vice-chancellors. The State government and the Governor have been locked over this issue with Mr. Kumar charging Mr. Konwar of keeping the
government out of the consultation process.
During the Governor’s speech, Ms. Jyoti kept interrupting him with questions about the “cost” of appointing a vice-chancellor. Mr. Konwar ignored them at first, but seeing that she was persistent, he reprimanded her.