On Thursday former NDA members-turned rivals JD(U) and BJP clashed in the Upper House of the Bihar Assembly in the presence of their leaders Nitish Kumar and Sushil Kumar Modi, with the saffron party blaming the clash on tyhe former CM who quickly denied it.
The Legislative Council looked like a battlefield with the members of the two parties shoving and pushing each other as Nitish and Modi, who is the Leader of the Opposition in the Upper House in the bicameral legislature, looked on.
The unseemly scuffle took place during the question hour when JD(U) member Sanjay Singh objected to Modi referring to Water Resources Minister Vijay Chaudhary by name and said he was suffering from some disease due to which he always kept blubbering something.
An angry Modi rushed into the well of the House followed by other BJP members demanding that the comments be expunged from the records and condemned Singh’s behaviour against a senior.
After the House was adjourned and Chairman Awdesh Narayan Singh left, a scuffle broke out between JD(U) and BJP members.
The brawl ended after senior members from both sides intervened and physically separated them with the help of House marshals.
Sushil Modi and other BJP leaders pointed fingers at Nitish Kumar and accused him of instigating Singh for the clash. He announced that BJP members would boycott House proceeding for the day over the incident.
An enraged Nitish Kumar strongly condemned the spat between the ruling JD(U) and BJP MLCs and denied his role in the matter before urging the Chair to rule in this regard.
Otherwise, he said, he would be compelled to stay away from the House for the remainder of the ongoing budget session.
“Whatever has happened in the Legislative Council today amounts to a blot on parliamentary democracy and it deserves downright condemnation…I have no role in the incident ….. and the charge of instigation of my party colleagues is totally false and baseless,” a visibly distressed Kumar said.
A JD(U) member Neeraj Kumar brought a resolution demanding suspension of four BJP members – Mangal Pandey, Suraj Nandan Kushwaha, Lal Babu Prasad and Satyendra Narayan Singh – over the incident. His plea had the backing of senior ministers and Legislators.
Kumar implored the Chair to view the footage himself and give his ruling, saying, “I want justice from you. Either the charges against me must be withdrawan or I would not like to be a member of the Upper House and participate in its proceedings if I have done any wrong.”
He did not approve of his colleague’s bid to introduce a resolution seeking suspension of four BJP MLCs.
After patiently hearing the former chief minister for about half an hour, the council chairperson A N Singh sought to mollify Kumar by giving him a clean chit for excellent conduct, saying he has tremendous respect for the former chief minister.
“You did not try to instigate the spat between the members of Treasury and Opposition benches and I have seen the footage before arriving to this conclusion,” Singh said, adding that he was himself hurt over the incident.
With the members of the Treasury Bench insisting on action against BJP Legislators, Singh, who is a senior BJP leader, said that he would hold a meeting with the leaders of all political parties on Friday.
RJD President Lalu Prasad came out in support of Kumar and assailed Sushil Modi and BJP for the scuffle. Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi also criticised BJP for accusing Kumar.
The BJP, however, stood by its charge against Kumar and asserted it would fight any action against its four members whose suspension has been demanded by the Treasury Bench.
“The BJP stand by its allegation that Nitish Kumar of instigated his party members to clash with BJP Legislators in the Legislative Council. Nitish Kumar made no efforts to stop his party Legislators who came menacingly towards me and other BJP members,” Sushil Modi said.
Modi said that the BJP boycotted the House over the ugly incident today and would decide on Friday its future course of action.