Sunday’s Maha Dalit Unity Rally here has raised the hackles of Bihar’s opposition, with Leader of the Opposition Rabri Devi calling for the resignation of Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary for his “partisan” conduct during the event.

The rally, despite being touted as a “non-party” programme by the National Democratic Alliance, is widely viewed as a major attempt on its part to woo Maha Dalit voters.

Repeated disruptions

Led by the Rashtriya Janata Dal, opposition members on Monday repeatedly attempted to halt the Governor’s speech on the first day of the budget session of the legislature by shouting slogans and demanding the removal of the Speaker.

Prior to commencement of the session, Ms. Rabri Devi visited Mr. Chaudhary in his chamber and questioned his “neutrality.”

“I told him that his behaviour at the rally was most unbecoming of a Speaker. He cannot toe a particular party line as he is supposed to be neutral. A Speaker cannot organise a party rally,” Ms. Rabri Devi told journalists.

Organised by Mr. Chaudhary under the aegis of the Bihar Maha Dalit Commission, the rally, which saw a massive turnout, had been heralded as a strictly “non-political/ non-party event” by the Janata Dal (United) and its alliance partner, the Bharatiya Janata Party.

The RJD-LJP combine has taken exception to Mr. Chaudhary’s sloganeering during the rally, accusing him of “partiality” and “impropriety.”

Defending him, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said Mr. Chaudhary was well within his rights to organise such an event, and the Opposition was jealous of the NDA government’s success in improving the living conditions of Maha Dalits.

Stressing the “non-political” nature of the event, Mr. Kumar said the main purpose “was to educate and socially awaken the Maha Dalit communities.” Branding the opposition behaviour in the Assembly “cheap” and “regrettable,” Mr. Kumar dared the RJD-LJP combine to move a no-confidence motion against Mr. Chaudhary.

RJD State president Abdul Bari Siddiqui said the Opposition parties would decide on Tuesday whether or not they would bring a no-confidence motion.

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