Saturday, September 30, 2023

Bihar assembly again adjourned over Congress minister

Himalayan Paths

Patna, March 6 (IANS) The Bihar assembly was adjourned on Monday amid an uproar by the opposition BJP demanding dismissal of Congress minister Abdul Jalil Mastan after a video emerged of him last month asking the people to beat Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s photograph with shoes.

Soon after the house assembled, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators shouted slogans and protested against Mastan, the state’s Excise and Prohibition Minister.

Speaker Vijay Kumar Choudhary requested them to let question hour proceed, which they accepted, and after four days, the respective ministers were able to reply.

However, the BJP legislators again created a ruckus as question hour ended, forcing the speaker to adjourn the house till 2 p.m.

The BJP members also staged a protest outside the main gate of the state assembly demanding Mastan’s dismissal.

Leader of Opposition Prem Kumar said the BJP will intensify its protest in the coming days to put pressure on Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to sack Mastan.

On Saturday, the BJP took to the streets and organised sit-ins across Bihar against Mastan.

The Bihar assembly’s budget session has been witnessing continuous disruption by the opposition over Mastan since last week.

After much hue and cry over his controversial statement, Mastan last Wednesday apologised in a bid to end the row but this cut little ice with the BJP.

Mastan is the only minister from the backward and under-developed Seemanchal belt, which comprises of Purnia, Kishanganj, Araria and Katihar districts with a sizeable Muslim population.

Mastan’s video, aired on a Hindi news channel on February 22, also condemned the Centre’s November 8 demonetisation move. The video went viral on the social media.

In the video, Mastan was seen addressing a crowd in Purnea district’s Amour constituency, reminding the audience that Modi had said he was prepared to be punished if he failed within 50 days to end the people’s woes post-demonetisation.

Mastan then egged on the crowd to beat Modi’s photograph with shoes.

The Congress, the junior partner in Bihar’s ruling Grand Alliance, has already ruled out Mastan’s sacking. The other two parties in the coalition, the Janata Dal-United and the Rashtriya Janata Dal, also do not favour action against him.

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