Pandemonium in Bihar house over midday meal tragedy

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RJD member Shiv Chandra Ram lying on the floor after being marshalled out of the Bihar Legislative Assembly after the ruckus Photo - PTI
RJD member Shiv Chandra Ram lying on the floor after being marshalled out of the Bihar Legislative Assembly after the ruckus
Photo – PTI

Patna, 29 Jul (PTI): Both Houses of Bihar legislature today witnessed noisy scenes with an aggressive opposition demanding suspension of all business to take on the issue of death of 23 children after eating midday meal in Chhapra forcing adjournment till recess.

In the state Legislative Assembly, immediately after the House sat for the day and Speaker Udai Narayan Chaudhary announced start of the Question Hour, opposition BJP members rose from their seat demanding suspension of all business to take up the Chhapra school tragedy issue.

Leader of the Opposition Nand Kishore Yadav said there was no other urgent issue than deaths of innocents children after eating poisonous midday meal in Dharmasati Gandaman school in Mashrakh block of Saran district.

The Speaker quoting rules said the issue would be taken up for a discussion after the Question Hour which was not acceptable to the BJP.

The BJP members came on the Well of the House and started shouting slogans against the government and the Chief Minister, who was not present in the House.

During the din, minister Renu Kushwaha was seen having argument with some BJP members after she took placard of one of the member and bundled it under the desk.

With all requests from the Chair going in vain, the Speaker adjourned the House till 12 o’clock.

Amid fierce verbal duel between erstwhile partners BJP and JD(U), members of Lalu Prasad’s RJD and Congress sat quietly.

The scene was no better when the House reassembled.

While the BJP members continued raising slogans, the government in a bid to blunt the attack of the opposition tried to create wedge in their ranks.

The Speaker announced that he has received two notices for adjournment on the midday meal tragedy issue. One from RJD Legislature party leader Abdul Bari Siddiqui and another from BJP’s Binod Narayan Jha.

He said since Siddiqui notice came to his office first, he has accepted it and announced to take up the motion at 2:30 PM after the recess.

The BJP members protested alleging the Chair of accepting RJD leader’s adjournment notice from “back door.”

“I had knocked the door of the Speaker office sharp at 8 AM and when Assembly Secretary arrived at 9 AM I am the first to submit the notice so how come Siddiqui’s notice is treated before me,” BJP’s Binod Narayan Jha shouted.

Leader of Opposition and other BJP members joined Jha in protest.

After accepting adjournment notice of RJD’s member the Speaker announced taking up the Zero Hour.

But, Siddiqui and BJP members protested saying no other business can be taken before adjournment notice which has been accepted.

The Speaker contested them saying in 1969 in a similar situation after accepting adjournment notice, other listed business of the House was taken up. But, this failed to satisfy the opposition forcing the Chair to adjourn the House till recess.

Later, Congress Legislature Party leader Sadanand Singh told PTI that four members of the party are against the government on the midday meal issue.

The Congress role is under watch as it had voted for Nitish Kumar government in the trust vote on June 19 after the split in NDA.

Bihar Legislative Council also saw pandemonium on midday and Bodh Gaya serial blasts issues. With opposition and treasury benches locked in noisy protest, Chairman Awdesh Narayan Singh adjourned the House till recess.

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