K. Balchand

PATNA: The Rashtriya Janata Dal and other United Progressive Alliance partners on Tuesday disrupted the presentation of the budget for 2007-08 in the Bihar Assembly. Leader of the Opposition and RJD leader Rabri Devi arrived with a lighted lantern in her hand, underscoring the blackout following a 24-hour strike by power workers. During zero hour, the Opposition parties forced an adjournment on the Government's `failure' to give jobs in rural areas.

In the post-lunch session, when Deputy Chief Minister S.K. Modi stood up to present the budget, the entire Opposition trooped into the well of the House demanding the arrest of Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Pravin Togadia for his remarks and accused the Government of spreading communalism. There was slogan-shouting and thumping of desks. The Opposition leaders returned to their seats only after the conclusion of the budget speech.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar hit back at the Opposition saying it did not have the heart to listen to the good work enumerated in the budget and the commitment to execute the new Five-Year Plan. He did not consider the presentation of a surplus budget of Rs. 50 crore as a bad reflection on the Government. He said sufficient provisions had been made for the Plan and rural-oriented programmes.

Mr. Kumar described the budget as good .

Mr. Modi promised to provide bicycles to 1.81 lakh girls studying in classes 8 to 10 at an estimated cost of Rs. 40 crores and about Rs. 700 each for their uniform.