Opposition walks out of Bihar Assembly

Opposition mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance) legislators in Bihar walked out of the State Assembly on Tuesday after Speaker Vijay Kumar Sinha rejected their notice for an adjournment motion on the farmer’s issues.

The members had requested the Speaker to admit the motion as it was related to the farmers’ demand for Minimum Support Price (MSP) and extension of the date for paddy procurement in the State. They walked out when the Speaker refused to allow the discussion.

The Opposition has been protesting against the new farm laws, both inside and outside the House, ever since the month-long budget session was convened on February 19. Leader of the Opposition Tejashwi Yadav had reached the main gate of the Assembly on February 22 driving a tractor. The Congress and Left party legislators too were protesting with placards and even bringing vegetables in plastic bags to the Assembly premises. Mr. Yadav alleged that farmers in Bihar had become vulnerable after the State government abolished the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act in 2006. He also demanded that the government extend paddy procurement date till March 31.

Later, participating in a debate on the motion of Thanks on the Governor’s address, Mr. Yadav slammed State government, alleging that incidents of crime had doubled in Bihar under the NDA regime. He cited figures to substantiate his claim. He also took a jibe at Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, saying he had branded BJP as “Badka Jhoota Party” (party of big liars) in 2015, but today he had become a “stepney” of the saffron party.

Later, Mr. Kumar rebutted the Opposition leader’s allegation point-wise and urged him to “have patience to hear out his response, which will eventually benefit you in later days”.

Referring to a question raised by Mr. Yadav, Mr. Kumar began by saying that when he (Mr. Kumar) was a Minister in the Central government, he (Mr. Yadav) was a kid in his lap. “Ever since the APMC was scrapped in 2006 by my government, paddy procurement from farmers has gone up through Primary Agriculture Co-operative Societies (PACS) and Vyapar Mandals [business communities] and farmers do not face any problem in the State today… Farmers had been demanding two weeks more for procurement of paddy, but our government decided to extend it for 21 days. Procurement of paddy has been done and no farmer is left out,” said Mr. Kumar.

Mr. Kumar also presented government figures on crime, health, electricity, road and other issues raised by the Opposition leader and asserted that his government was taking every possible step for the development of the State. “If any member of the House has any suggestion or complaint on any issue, they can write to the Minister concerned or to me. I’ll definitely look into it.”

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