PATNA: Bihar’s ruling JD(U) faced an embarrassing situation on Monday as one of its MLAs said he had resigned because the administration had been harassing the people of his constituency for protesting against the mafia encroaching on the land of a moribund sugar mill.
Shyam Bahadur Singh, MLA from Barharia constituency in the western Siwan district, wiped away tears as he spoke of his “struggles to get justice” for his supporters booked by police for their protest against the land mafia’s action.
The MLA’s candid statements brought the Nitish Kumar-led state government’s claims about good governance and the rule of law under a cloud. Singh, however, said he was not going to join any other party and that he had “full faith in the CM’s leadership”.
“The administration (in Siwan district) is keeping quiet even as land belonging to a moribund sugar mill is being encroached upon by the mafia. When the people protested, the cops registered cases against 200 of them. They are being harassed,” said the MLA. “All my efforts to intervene on the people’s behalf have failed. I cannot show my face to the people of my constituency when this is the situation despite my party being in power,” he added.
JD(U) state president Vashistha Narayan Singh sought to downplay the MLA’s resignation, which would further weaken the thin majority the state’s NDA government currently has. “There is no question of the MLA’s resignation being accepted. He has been a dedicated soldier of the party, and his concerns would be addressed,” he said.
The Opposition RJD and Congress attacked the Nitish Kumar-led government over the JD(U) legislator’s allegations. “If an MLA of Bihar’s main ruling party faces such a sorry state of affairs because of the land mafia’s excesses, the general public can hardly hope for anything good from this government,” said RJD leader Tej Pratap Yadav.
“Nitish Kumar, who holds the home department, has utterly failed to maintain the rule of law in Bihar. He has no time for this department. It is time Bihar got a dedicated home minister,” said senior Congress leader Prem Chandra Mishra.
JD(U) sources said the aggrieved MLA has sent his resignation to the party’s state president and Governor Lalji Tandon. “The MLA has no intention to quit. For an MLA’s resignation to take effect, it has to be sent to the Assembly Speaker,” said a JD(U) leader.