In the eye of a storm for recognising 13 RJD MLAs as a separate group, Bihar Speaker Uday Narayan Choudhary today defended the decision and hit out at the party for throwing stones at his house to 'browbeat a mahadalit' holding constitutional chair. "The interim decision to recognise 13 RJD MLAs as a separate group is lawful, taken after thorough study of parliamentary provisions and not in haste ... If somebody is not satisfied he or she is free to challenge it before any constitutional body," Choudhary told reporters at his residence.
"I took 10 days to satisfy myself through different means on the application bearing signature of 13 MLAs to either merge them with JD(U) or recognise them as a separate group. I wanted to take more time but members who had signed the letter urged me to decide on their plea and accordingly I directed the assembly secretariat to issue a notification recognising them as a separate group as per interim arrangements on February 24 evening," he said.
Choudhary said since 9 of the 13 MLAs have given separate letters now he will study them and give a ruling accordingly. He, however, did not give any timeline for giving a final decision.
Asked what will be the fate of these 13 MLAs till then, the Speaker said, "You will see it when the house sits for the next session." In an apparent dig at RJD President Lalu Prasad who led a procession of his party with 9 MLAs to the assembly during which stones were thrown at his house, Choudhary said it was an attack on the constitutional chair and not a person. "They want to frighten me by doing such mischief to rescind the decision ... But can a constitutional chair be forced to change a lawful decision?," Choudhary said.
About his absence from assembly office when Lalu Prasad came there yesterday with 9 RJD MLAs, Choudhary said "I did not run away but had a prior appointment with an MP of Bhutan." "How can a Constitutional chair run away?" he said rubbishing assertions of the RJD chief in this regard.