Patna: The Nitish Kumar government Tuesday faced embarrassment in the Legislative Assembly when a senior minister made a controversial remark that sending a matter for vigilance probe would "drag" it for long.
The remark was made by Transport and SC&ST Minister Ramai Ram while answering a question of a BJP member regarding non-payment of scholarship to SC & ST students in a college in Vaishali district.
On questioner Mahendra Baitha's demand that the matter should be probed by vigilance department, the minister said handing over the matter to vigilance would mean "dragging" it for a longer period and instead mooted inquiry by department commissioner.
Soon Leader of Opposition Nand Kishore Yadav rose from his seat and said the minister's comment regarding vigilance department's functioning was enough to prove its efficiency and impartiality.
Yadav demanded that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who was not present in the House at that time, clarify his government's policy towards vigilance department.
Soon other members joined in and there was trading of charges between treasury and opposition benches.
But the minister refused to relent and said he had long experience in public life and know functioning style of vigilance department.
"Hum 40 saal rajniti me aise hi nahin bita diye hai (I have not spend 40 year in politics without gaining experience)," Ram, eight time MLA from Bochaha (SC seat) in Muzaffarpur district said and indulged in verbal duel with the Opposition leader.
The minister was so steadfast in his approach that he even shouted at senior minister Vijay Chaudhary, who is also leader of JD(U) in the House, when he stood up for damage control and forced him to sit down without speaking anything.
As accusations flied thick and fast, Speaker Uday Narayan Choudhary intervened and said the minister did not mean it.