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Posted On : 17 Mar, 2017  Source : PTI  Place : Patna 
'Kabristan vs shamshan' debate rocks Bihar assembly
Bihar assembly today witnessed chaos with ruling and opposition benches locking horns over BJP MLA Sanjay Saraogi's demand for construction of 'shamshan' (crematorium) for Hindus on lines of 'shamshans' (graveyards) for minorities being spruced up.

During post-lunch session proceedings, Saraogi demanded that the state government should spend at least Rs 2500 crore for construction of 'shamshans' for Hindus in proportion to their population as it has spent Rs 700 crore for fencing and maintenance of 'kabristan' for minorities.

However, the ruling benches shouted furiously at the BJP MLA from Darbhanga for setting out 'communal agenda' in Bihar following its thumping victory in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh.

As soon as Saraogi's non-government resolution number 22 demanding construction of 'shamshans' for Hindus on lines of maintenance of 'kabristan' by the state government with public money was rejected by the House after the presiding officer Md. Iliyas Hussain put it for vote on insistence of ruling benches, the opposition members trooped into well and pushed reporters' table before raising slogans against the state government for turning down the resolution in unilateral manner.

The chair sought to restore order but this time the members of the ruling coalition comprising the JD(U), RJD and Congress jumped on their feets demanding stern action against the BJP member without taking Saraogi's name for misconduct.

Hussain repeatedly appealed to members of both sides but the treasury benches led by the Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shrawan Kumar continued to insist for strong action against the errand BJP MLA.

Intervening in the matter, the Leader of Opposition (LoP) Prem Kumar sought to link his party MLA's conduct with similar actions of the ruling members during monsoon session and said that action must be taken against both parties for identical behaviour.

Adding more fuel to the fire, the Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Prasad Yadav condemned the opposition's behaviour and asked that if it felt that 'shamshans' should be constructed then why did it not go ahead with construction when in power in Bihar.

"If you (BJP) are so serious about construction of 'shamshans', then why did not you construct it when you were in power in Bihar," Tejaswi asked.

Charging the BJP with trying to set a political and communal agenda on 'shamshan' vs 'kabristan' in Bihar after riding to power in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh , the Deputy Chief Minister thundered that the Grand Alliance government will not allow the saffron party to succeed in its sinister designs.

Warning that the BJP will not be allowed to indulge in 'goondagardi' (hooliganism), he said : "We will ensure that communal amity and brotherhood prevails in Bihar.

Tejaswi further riled BJP saying it wants destruction and not development before urging the LoP to apologise to the house for 'misconduct' of his party member.

This infuriated Prem Kumar who launched a vitriolic attack on the RJD for presiding over corruption and scam in Bihar during its 15 years' rule, including the fodder scam and said that the RJD leaders have no right to sermonise the BJP.

Taken back by sharp attack on his party by the LoP, the Deputy Chief Minister trashed corruption charges saying that the RJD has emerged as single largest party during 2015 assembly polls in Bihar prove beyond doubt that the party and its leadership enjoyed the trust of the people.

At the end of pandemonium lasting nearly 35 minutes, the presiding officer restored order by telling the members that he will apprise the Speaker Vijay Kumar Chaudhary about the fracas and a decision will be taken by the latter tomorrow.

The house later resumed business as usual to complete proceedings on non-government resolutions.