Bihar Social Welfare Minister Madan Sahni has threatened to resign, alleging high-handedness by officials.
The minister said he will hand over his resignation to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday as he was away from Patna.
Mr. Sahni is a JD(U) MLA from Bahadurpur constituency in Darbhanga district.
“I'll submit my resignation letter to CM Nitish Kumar ji on Saturday. If officials don’t listen to me, how will I be able to do work for the people who have been electing me for last three consecutive terms? I’m not here to have a spacious bungalow or a car. I’m here to serve people who have elected me”, Mr. Sahni said.
However, Mr. Sahni further said that he would remain in the party and “will follow the path shown by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar”.
“The CM will have to take a final call on this issue. A minister in his Cabinet has no role in the transfer and posting of an employee of his department, then what’s the use of being a minister?” he asked.
He also added that several ministers too had been facing similar situation but would not speak out. “They will thank me, though, for speaking out what they too feel”, he said.
The minister also demanded a probe into the assets of a senior bureaucrat of his department.
Mr. Sahni was also Food and Supply Minister in the previous NDA government led by Mr. Kumar in the State.
Mr. Sahni is said to be livid over being ignored by a top department official on the transfer and posting list of officials sent to him.
“When I sought transfer of officials who have been staying put in the department for years and are working in an arbitrary manner and sent their list to the department secretary, he refused to listen and ignored the list”, said Mr. Sahni.
“There is all-round corruption and high-handedness of bureaucracy in the State and fed-up with all these, now I’ve decided to resign from the Cabinet”, asserted Mr. Sahni.
He said he called up Principal Secretary to CM thrice but “he didn’t pick up my phone, neither responded my message”.
“Then I informed about my decision to the Chief Secretary and a few top JD(U) leaders like RCP Singh, Ashok Choudhury and Sanjay Jha,” he said. All of these party leaders are said to be close to CM Nitish Kumar.
“All Bihar knows that bureaucrats of the State have become dictators and listen to none”, he rued.
Earlier, BJP MLA from Barh Gyanendra Singh Gyanu too had alleged that “money played a big role in the recent transfer and postings of officials in the State”. He even blamed “most of the ministers from BJP quota for minting money in transfer and posting of officials”.
Another BJP MLA from Bisfi constituency in Madhubani district Haribhushan Thakur said, “The legislator’s situation in this government has become worse than even a peon. None listens to them. There is all-around corruption at block level and no one takes notice on our complaints”.
“ Vidhayakon ka maan-samman daon per hai [legislators’ respect and dignity are at stake]”, he added.
Meanwhile, leader of ruling NDA constituent Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) and former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi too took a swipe at the high-handedness of the State bureaucracy and supported Mr. Sahni.
“The babus are calling the shots and they demean the ministers’ position and stature”, he said after reaching Patna from New Delhi on Thursday. Mr. Manjhi had a meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi.
“I had raised this issue even at the NDA legislators’ party meeting”, he added.
“The Opposition RJD has, for long, been saying that Nitish Kumar is ruling the State only with a few favourite bureaucrats and now MLAs from his own party and ruling alliance BJP have been reiterating the same”, said RJD leader and party spokesperson Mrityunjay Tiwari.