Bihar Social Welfare Minister Minister Madan Sahni recently announced his decision to resign from the Cabinet, lashing out at bureaucratic hurdles faced while discharging his duties. As the state grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic and preps for the upcoming Panchayat elections, fresh crises continue to plague the Nitish Kumar-led government. Around the same time as Sahni's remarks, two BJP MLAs have accused lawmakers of taking bribes.
Sahni alleged on Thursday that bureaucrats (including his own Principal Secretary) were not paying heed to lawmakers. He was reportedly upset over officials putting transfers and postings approved by him on hold.
"The officers in the state are not under the control of anyone and are not following the instructions of the public representatives...If officers don't listen to me, I won't be able to get people's work done. If the demands of people are not fulfilled, I do not need this position or residence," he told news agency ANI.
The Minister insisted that he did not have the right to enjoy the perks that came with his post if he was unable to serve the people of Bihar. As such, he explained, he was resigning in "protest against bureaucracy". He however said that he would remain in the party and continue to work under the leadership of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
The controversy has been compounded by allegations from two BJP MLAs that ministers openly took money for posting of officials. Gynandra Singh Gyanu and Haribhushan Thakur alleged that the requests of legislators were ignored.
Asked for proof about his allegations, Gyanu said that an audio of BJP MLC Devesh Kumar went viral on social media where he was discussing about Rs 45 crore collected by a minister for the same. The JD(U) ministers, he explained were less involved in this postings game because they were "scared of Nitish Kumar".
Speaking about the allegations, Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) president Jitan Ram Manjhi said that it was indeed true that administrative officers don't give preference to leaders' words.
Leader of Opposition and RJD MLA Tejashwi Yadav has also criticised the chief minister over the allegations. "Nitish Kumar is the father of corruption. It is shocking that bureaucrats in the CM office not responding to phone calls of minister Madan Sahni who belongs from an extremely backward caste" he was quoted as saying.
In related news, two former MLAs of the JD(U) had recently announced that they would join the Rashtriya Janata Dal. Manjeet Singh, who was one of the youth leaders closest to Nitish Kumar, announced that he will join the RJD on July 3. Maheshwar Singh also announced he would join the RJD.
(With inputs from agencies)