An RJD MLC’s attempt to ask an out-of-turn question inside the Bihar Legislative Council on Monday prompted an angry reaction from Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
Mr Kumar rose in his seat to reprimand MLC Subodh Kumar.
A starred question was raised by RJD legislator Mohd Farooq and the reply by Rural Works Minister Jayant Raj apparently did not satisfy the opposition.
Mr Farooq thereafter raised a supplementary query and the minister rose again to reply when Subodh Kumar stood up and began asking questions.
The Chief Minister intervened at this stage and said, “You must wait for your turn when another member has raised a question and the reply is being given.”
The MLC, who was visibly disconcerted, attempted to stick to his guns, but the Chief Minister told him firmly, “You please sit down, first learn the rules.”
He also turned towards senior opposition legislators and said, “Why do you not impart your knowledge to these people.”
The young MLC said he was merely asking a “poorak prashn” (supplementary question).
Mr Kumar snapped: “Will you interrupt me while I am speaking? Will you not listen? Is this the way to conduct yourself?”
The House was stunned into silence as the Chief Minister uttered these words on top of his voice. He later spoke in a normal tone and explained to the member that even if he had a supplementary question, he should have brought it to the notice of the Chair.
“These are rules, which you must learn and scrupulously follow. I have no objection to anybody asking questions. But this must be in order,” the Chief Minister said before taking his seat.
“I have respect for the Chief Minister but what I did is not without precedent. I wonder what was so amiss with my doing something that even members of the treasury benches do.”
Rural Development Minister Shravan Kumar, who held the parliamentary affairs portfolio in the previous government, rose to reiterate that the RJD MLC’s behaviour was inappropriate.
“Any number of supplementary questions can be raised. But it cannot be acceptable that one member has raised a question and even before its reply is over, another legislator starts blurting out his own queries,” he said.