The monsoon session of the Bihar Assembly, which will begin on Monday, is likely to be eventful as the opposition parties have chalked out a strategy to corner the state government on issues such as rising prices of fuel, cooking gas, fertilisers and edible oil.
The stage for a stormy session has been set by the tug of war between the state government and the opposition over the Bihar Special Armed Police Bill, 2021, passed by the Assembly in the last budget session.
Unprecedented chaos erupted on March 23 when police was called inside the Assembly to assist the marshals in evicting unruly opposition members who tried to physically prevent Speaker Vijay Kumar Sinha from taking his chair. The bone of contention was Bihar Special Armed Police Bill, 2021, which the Nitish Kumar government had introduced in a bid to give its police more teeth, deemed necessary in view of the increasingly complex security needs of the state which has been witnessing rapid economic growth.
The opposition had termed it as “black" legislation, taking strong exception to provisions that empower the Special Armed Police, previously known as the Bihar Military Police, to conduct searches and arrests without producing a warrant. The Bill was passed by the Assembly, amid a “walkout" by opposition MLAs who had squatted outside the building and raised slogans, slighted by the manner in which they were ousted from the hall on that day by the men in uniform.
RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav has already written to the Speaker, saying that opposition legislators were scared to enter the House due to the March 23 incident. Our MLAs are now afraid of entering the House and raising questions there…let us know the result of the investigation on the March 23 incident. That was a black day which will never be forgotten," Yadav wrote in his letter.
Whether in the Assembly or on the road, anyone who asks questions related to the public interest is being thrashed by this government headed by Nitish Kumar, he said. The monsoon session will continue till July 30.
Two policemen were recently suspended after they were found guilty of assaulting opposition MLAs in the Assembly on March 23. The Speaker had already assured that strict action would be taken against those who were involved in the scuffle with the opposition legislators.
Meanwhile, Sinha has said legislators, who haven’t received vaccine doses, would not be allowed to attend the monsoon session, stressing on the need to adhere to the COVID protocols for safe conduct of the proceedings. “MLAs, who have not been vaccinated, will not be allowed to attend the session. Vaccination is important for all the MLAs attending the House, he said.
Sinha said exemptions can be given to the members on certain medical grounds. MLAs who have recovered from COVID-19 and have been advised by their doctors to get jabs after a certain period will be allowed to participate in the monsoon session, the Speaker said.