The unseemly war of words between Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Speaker Vijay Kumar Sinha inside the Assembly on Monday was a fallout of a “centralised” power structure in which elected representatives felt helpless before a high-handed bureaucracy, Leader of Opposition Tejashwi Yadav.
Yadav, who gave the day’s proceedings a slip, made the remark at a public meeting in Muzaffarpur, which he visited as part of a whirlwind campaign for the biennial election to 24 seats in the state legislative council.
“I did not see it for myself but I am told by one of my associates that there was some bahasabahasi (spat) between the CM and the Speaker inside the House. The issue at hand was that a mere thaanedaar (police station in-charge) was not listening to the Speaker,” the RJD leader said.
Calling the Assembly “the biggest panchayat” in the state, Yadav said “Imagine if the members of that House cannot have their say, then what to speak of others, the common citizens”.
All the 24 seats for which elections are being held are local bodies constituencies. The RJD is contesting in 23 of these, leaving one for Left Front.
Yadav said, “This government is indeed a circus”, evoking applause from the crowds. He referred to the chief minister’s alleged attempt to “concentrate all powers in his own hands” which has left his ally the BJP, which has two deputy chief ministers, restless.
“Why does this government keep blaming our party for all ills that plague the state? Granted we had some shortcomings, but we have been in the opposition for over a decade and a half now. How long will NDA take to improve things in Bihar?” he asked.
Yadav sought to underscore that his party is gaining popularity among all castes, contrary to NDA’s claim that it banked on a handful of populous communities for support.
“In the assembly election of 2020, we fought on the plank of a government that is accountable and responsive to the need for jobs, an improved agriculture and better health and education (kamai, padhai, sinchai, dawai, sunwaai, karwaai ki sarkaar). We received the support of all sections of the society as is evident from the fact that the total votes polled by our coalition were just 12,000 less than the NDA,” he asserted.
Notably, the five-party Grand Alliance headed by RJD also comprised the Congress, which now stands estranged and is contesting in 14 of the legislative council seats on its own.