Opposition's behaviour ‘unwarranted' and ‘irresponsible,' says Nitish Kumar

The issue of alleged irregularities amounting to Rs. 11,412 crore took yet another turn on Tuesday, with the Bihar Assembly turning into an arena of unbridled bedlam and physical action as legislators from the Opposition and ruling parties locked horns, bringing House proceedings to a halt.

In all, about a dozen legislators on both sides suffered minor injuries in the ensuing fracas.

The pre-lunch session saw the House being adjourned twice, as the Opposition, led by the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), the Congress, the Left parties and the Lok Jan Shakti Party (LJP) raised slogans and waved placards demanding the resignations of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, over “embezzlement” amounting to Rs. 11,412 crore.

They were countered by NDA MLAs, who waved placards stating that the whole affair was a Congress conspiracy, and demanded the resignation of the Congress-led government at the Centre for failing to rein in rising prices. When the House re-convened after lunch to debate on the issue, the Opposition parties disrupted the proceedings by tearing up proceeding reports and storming into the well of the House, demanding an adjournment. The scene quickly degenerated into an ugly melee, with legislators from the Opposition and ruling parties locked in heated scuffles, hurling furniture at each other.

“It is their [the Opposition's] perception that they can garner cheap publicity by deliberately disrupting the proceedings and indulging in such low antics,” Nitish Kumar later said.

“What transpired was utterly unwarranted and highly irresponsible on the part of the Opposition,” he added, castigating the Opposition which, he said, acted without the slightest provocation.

“The government is more than willing to debate. But they know just how thin their case is against the NDA government. All they can do is indulge in senseless agitation,” he said.

Addressing reporters jointly at the airport, RJD supremo Lalu Prasad and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan said the violence was pre-planned and instigated by the Chief Minister himself. “The scuffle was deliberately contrived by Nitish to prevent any discussion, thence covering up the issue of misappropriation,” said the duo.

Meanwhile, Opposition legislators propose to stage an overnight dharna demanding that Mr. Kumar step down.

The Bihar government on Monday sought a stay on the Patna High Court's directive requesting a CBI probe into the alleged irregularities, asking whether a court could order any agency to conduct a probe on the basis of the CAG report, especially when the CAG was yet to be examined by the Public Accounts Committee.

On July 15, the Patna High Court asked for a CBI inquiry into alleged irregularities in various development schemes between 2002 and 2008 following a Public Interest Litigation filed by a lawyer, which was based on the 2009 Comptroller and Auditor-General's Report for Bihar.