Bihar Assembly passes Lokayukta Bill

PATNA: Senior JD(U) leader Maheshwar Hazari was elected as the Deputy Speaker of the Bihar legislative assembly on Wednesday amid boycott of the house by opposition protesting use of force against their members when they were holding agitation against a Bill concerning the police department the previous day.

Hazari was elected deputy speaker by voice vote in the absence of opposition members in the house.

The opposition RJD, Congress, CPI-ML, CPI and CPI(M) kept away from the house and instead held a parallel session outside in the assembly premises after choosing RJD’s Bhudeo Chuadhary their spealer.

Bhudeo Chaudhary had filed nomination for the deputy speaker post, but neither he nor the opposition MLAs participated in the election.

The Grand Alliance members are protesting against Bihar Special Armed Police Bill, 2021, which the Nitish Kumar government has 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 chief minister congratulated Hazari upon getting elected as deputy speaker and flayed the opposition for “demeaning the democracy” through their unparliamentary acts.

Kumar said the opposition ran away from the election knowing very well that they will be defeated in the contest and indulged in “undemocratic” action outside.

“What will they gain by doing all this?” he asked.

The chief minister stressed on the need for the new police bill and said had the opposition raised their objections in a proper manner in the house, the government would have cleared their doubts point-by-point.

The bill was passed by the assembly Tuesday.

Hazari secured 124 votes in the 243-member Bihar house.

With the BJP winning larger number of seats within NDA in the recently concluded Bihar polls, the ruling coalition has gone for a role reversal this time with saffron party’s Vijay Sinha becoming speaker and the post of deputy speaker going to the JD(U).

Last time, when Kumar’s party was in the commanding position, JD(U)’s Vijay Chaudhary was the speaker and Amrendra Pratap Singh of the BJP his deputy.

The Bihar assembly had witnessed an unprecedented chaos Tuesday when police was called to assist the marshals in evicting unruly opposition members who tried to physically prevent the speaker from taking his chair.

The opposition have termed the bill a “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.

Leader of Opposition Tejashwi Yadav and his MLA brother Tej Pratap Yadav had hit the streets here Tuesday against the bill.