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Jharkhand CM ready for probe on toffee-t-shirt scam during Raghubar regime


Ranchi, September 7: Unrelenting BJP MLAs disrupted Jharkhand Assembly proceedings on Tuesday for the third consecutive day as they protested against the allotment of a Namaz room by the speaker and demanded allocation of 30 minutes every week for reciting the Hanuman Chalisa.

The saffron party members chanted ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and snatches of the Hanuman Chalisa. Many lawmakers of the party, which is the main opposition in Jharkhand, sported saffron outfits and saffron angavastram with ‘Jai Shri Ram’ printed on them.

The protest against the allotment of a room in the Assembly for Namaz began even before the House assembled for the day’s proceedings. BJP MLAs sat on the stairs at the entrance of the Assembly and chanted the Hanuman Chalisa and party MLA Narayan Das was seen wearing a garland made of ‘belpatra’ (wood apple leaves).

As soon as the House assembled, they began to vociferously protest against the allotment of the namaz room and the state’s employment policy even as Speaker Rabindra Nath Mahto repeatedly urged them to allow the House to function.

The unrelenting opposition members, however, continued to shout slogans during the question hour which lead to the adjournment of the House till 12.30 pm.

However, before the adjournment, Jamshedpur East MLA Saryu Roy during question hour, amidst uproar by BJP leaders, raised the issue of toffee and T-shirt scam done during erstwhile Raghubar Das led-BJP government in 2016 during state’s foundation day and claimed that he had enough proof to prove the then government guilty.

In reply, Chief Minister Hemant Soren assured an inquiry either by Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB ) or special committee to probe into irregularities.

Incidentally, Saryu Roy who is known as a whistleblower and has been raising accusation against BJP national vice-president and former chief minister Raghubar Das had in the past claimed that Bollywood singer Sunidhi Chauhan was called in this program, on which Rs 44.27 lakh was spent.

The MLA alleged that the agency was selected on the basis of nomination and secretary to the then Chief Minister Raghubar Das.

Earlier, the state government had clarified that Rs 55,25,291 was spent on singer Sunidhi Chauhan’s program during the state foundation day program in 2016 out of which about Rs 44,27,500 was given to the company organizing the program of Sunidhi Chauhan and Rs 10.97 lakh was spent on the accommodation, food and movement of Sunidhi Chauhan. Approval on the amount spent was taken from the cabinet.

When the house proceeding began at 2 pm, BJP Bhawnathpur MLA, Bhanu Pratap Sahi sought clarification from the government on when the new recruitment policy would be effective and demanded for cancellation of the policy as it has excluded Hindi, English and Sanskrit from language papers for recruitment of grade third and fourth post for government jobs.

In reply to a question by Chandankiyari BJP MLA Amar Kumar Bauri question, the state government claimed that they have received no information about a single person dying due to lack of oxygen during the first and second wave of the Covid pandemic in the state. The government however informed that a total of 5132 people have died during both the waves in the state.

The health department also informed that 38 oxygen plants are being built in the state with PM Care Fund and work is underway to set up 38 oxygen plants in different districts from the PM Care Fund in the state. Apart from this, the state government is getting oxygen plants installed in 34 health institutions through its own resources or CSR funds which will be completed by September 15.

There was pandemonium with heated exchange between Congress MLAs on the treasury benches and BJP MLAs after Ranchi MLA called state health minister and Congress leader Banna Gupta as a tempo (autorickshaw) agent.

State finance minister Rameshwar Oraon said that when a tea seller can become the Prime Minister in this country, why can’t a tempo agent become a minister.

In reply, BJP MLA C P Singh said though the Business Advisory Committee had decided to take up the employment policy issue it was changed.

“This (speaker’s statement) is an emotional statement. We are also sad. Speaker is supreme in the assembly but it hurts when we see that your behaviour is not impartial,” he told Mahto.

Amid the din, the speaker asked BJP MLA Bhanu Pratap Shahi to respect Hanuman Chalisa and not to use it for political gains. He said may ‘Bajrang Bali’ grant wisdom to the agitating MLAs.

The House, however, took up the debate on the supplementary budget for 2021-22 amidst the din.

Amid the din raised by BJP lawmakers, the house passed the supplementary budget of  Rs 4684.93 crore for fiscal 2021-22 after nearly 40 minutes of discussion amid BJP MLAs staging a walkout over the namaz row in the evening. 

Ruckus by BJP over the allotment of a room for offering namaz in the assembly had disrupted proceedings on Monday as well.

The BJP is demanding the recall of the order pertaining to the allotment of the namaz room.

The speaker has allotted room number TW 348 for offering namaz, prompting demand from the BJP to build a Hanuman temple and places of worship of other religions in the assembly premises.

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