The Bihar assembly was on Tuesday adjourned within minutes of commencement of proceedings following a ruckus created by the Opposition which linked the absence of Speaker Vijay Kumar Sinha to his alleged insult by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
Legislators of the RJD, the main opposition party, had reached the assembly wearing black badges in protest against the showdown between Sinha and Kumar on the previous day.
They were further provoked upon seeing senior BJP leader Prem Kumar in the Chair. The MLAs began shouting and demanding that the speaker and the chief minister come to the House and explain the fallout of the spat.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Vijay Kumar Chaudhary rose to give a statement asserting, "The chief minister acknowledges the importance of the Chair. He had some issues with regard to the manner in which the House was conducted. He expressed his reservations with utmost humility, with folded hands."
Chaudhary also took exception to opposition MLAs demanding a "safai" (explanation) from the Chair with regard to Sinha's absence.
"The members would question the Chair and it will have to answer? This shows their poor understanding of democratic and legislative norms," Chaudhary remarked.
As the din continued in the House, the Chair adjourned the proceedings till 2 PM, when the post-lunch session begins.
The House had witnessed an unprecedented outburst from the chief minister on Monday when an issue relating to Lakhisarai, which is the speaker's own assembly constituency, was raised by a couple of members.
The speaker has been miffed with some arrests in a case of prohibition violation in Lakhisarai and the privilege committee had last week recommended action against a couple of police officers who were disrespectful towards Sinha when he broached the matter with them.
The contention of Kumar was that the government was looking into the matter and it was wrong on part of Sinha to allow the matter to be raised inside the House "again and again".
Kumar spoke for a few minutes, quivering with rage and stunning the House into silence. The speaker, who has previously served under Kumar as a cabinet minister, said he respected the latter's knowledge of the Constitution and experience but expressed the helplessness he left in dealing with a recalcitrant bureaucracy.
It is, however, being speculated in political circles that Kumar's loss of cool stemmed from his frustration over having lost the upper hand to the BJP, which had been a junior alliance partner until the 2020 assembly polls.
With far fewer MLAs than the BJP, Kumar returned as chief minister for the fourth consecutive term but had to give his ally many concessions, including a higher number of cabinet berths and, importantly, the post of the speaker.
In the highest seat of power since 2005, Kumar has always succeeded in having one of his confidants, from his own party JD(U), as the speaker. For his first two terms in office, it was Uday Narayan Chaudhary who has since burnt bridges and moved over to the RJD.
In 2015, when Kumar allied with RJD and returned to power with a few seats less than Lalu Prasad's party, he still had his way and Vijay Kumar Chaudhary was elected to the post of the speaker.
Vijay Kumar Sinha became the first BJP leader in the state's history to have occupied the post, a fact the party likes to flaunt.
The opposition seems to be fishing in troubled waters. Leaders like Tejashwi Yadav and Chirag Paswan have been targeting the chief minister for displaying "arrogance" in dealing with the speaker and demanding an apology.
Meanwhile, when Kumar was approached by journalists at Maner Sharif, a Sufi shrine on the outskirts of Patna, he ducked queries on the issue with a cryptic smile and a wave.
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