Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav on Tuesday launched a fresh attack on the BJP inside the state assembly where he charged the opposition party with stoking “fear in the minds of Hindus” for political gains.
Tejashwi Yadav was replying to the debate on budgetary allocation for the health department, a portfolio that he holds, amid a walkout by the BJP on the second consecutive day.
“I had said a lot yesterday and I had hoped that the opposition leaders will be around today to take the debate forward. But they chose to run away. They have not even moved a cut motion. I will say something about them towards the end of my statement,” Mr Yadav told the Chair before launching into a speech that ran for over 20 minutes.
Outside the assembly, Leader of the Opposition Vijay Kumar Sinha insisted that the walkout followed “the government’s refusal to entertain a host of issues raised by us, including alleged involvement of a minister in a murder case and corruption cases against the Deputy CM himself”.
“Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has surrendered before his new ally (RJD) and the state is reverting to the era of lawlessness from which we had pulled it out with so much of effort,” alleged the BJP leader, whose party was stripped of power when Nitish Kumar snapped ties in August last year.
He also alleged that Speaker Awadh Bihari Chaudhary, who belongs to the RJD, had been running the House in a partisan manner.
When pointed out that Mr Yadav has sought an apology for having been proven wrong on allegations of attacks on migrants in Tamil Nadu, Sinha stood his ground saying “the report of the team of officials that toured that state should be tabled inside the House for discussion”.
Inside the House, Mr Yadav ended his speech, after which the budgetary demand for the health department was passed by a voice vote, tearing into the opposition party.
“The BJP likes to thrive in a paradox wherein people shall remain happy as Hindus despite being unemployed and having to survive on five kilograms of free ration. Hindus comprise 85 per cent of the population and the BJP instils in them fear of the remaining 15 per cent so that they remain beholden to the party”, said Mr Yadav.
Lalu Yadav, who had promised 10 lakh jobs to the state’s youth, which helped him catch the public imagination in the 2020 assembly polls and propelled the RJD to the position of the single largest party, also told the House that the government was planning to provide employment to 1.6 lakh people in the health department itself.
“I am grateful to the Honourable Chief Minister who is present here and has fully supported me in fulfilling the promise of 10 lakh jobs. He has personally presided over a function where appointment letters were given to more than 10,000 recruits in the health department”, the Deputy Chief Minister added.
He, however, made it clear that the government will not tolerate laxity on part of employees and pointed out that “action has been initiated against 700 doctors who have been absent from duty for long. In one cabinet meeting, termination orders were passed for 70 of such erratic officials”.
He also disclosed that plans were afoot for an “emergency cadre” to ensure that patients do not suffer during unforeseen circumstances like strikes. In addition, a new “referral policy” was shaping up to put a check on the practice of doctors in other districts referring patients to Patna at the drop of a hat.
“We are also trying to put in place conditions wherein more and more medical facilities become available in various districts. This would further de-congest the hospitals in the state capital,” said Lalu Yadav.
He also said that the government was sensitive to the fact that a large number of employees in the health department were women for the benefit of whom sanitary pad vending machines were being installed at hospitals.
“We are also considering a proposal to make these vending machines available to women admitted to the health centres,” said the young leader.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by String Reveals staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)