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Ex-BJP ministers on indefinite dharna against 'witch hunting'

Friday, 21 February 2014 - 6:21pm IST | Agency: PTI

Two former BJP ministers in Nitish Kumar government today sat on an indefinite dharna in front of state Assembly alleging "conspiracy" against them by the Chief Minister after a JD(U) MLA alleged that they "swindled" crores of rupees meant to be paid to farmers as insurance claim.

Ramadhar Singh and Giriraj Singh who were Cooperative and Animal Husbandry Ministers respectively in the NDA government demanded that Kumar make public their file notings regarding setting up of weather station for daily assessment of loss of crop for payment of insurance claim to farmers. They also sought action against JD(U) MLA Manjit Kumar Singh for making "false" allegations.

The two BJP leaders sat in the lawn in front of main gate of the Assembly and did not go inside the House as part of their indefinite dharna.

Later, in the Assembly, Kumar said he has asked officials to provide him facts regarding the matter for the last 10-12 years on the basis of which he would place "statement of facts" in the House tomorrow. But, this did not satisfy the agitating former BJP ministers who said they would continue with their stir.

JD(U) MLA Manjit Kumar Singh had yesterday during a question alleged "swindling" of over Rs 100 crore in payment of insurance claim to farmers by not complying to notification for setting up a weather station every 15 km across Bihar for daily assessment of weather for payment to farmers for loss of crops. To his demand, the minister in-charge of cooperative department Renu Kushwaha had agreed for a vigilance inquiry.

Leader of Opposition in Assembly Nand Kishore Yadav today raised protest over the matter and said the allegations against the former BJP ministers were false. Later, Yadav and former Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi sat with the agitating leaders in solidarity. 

An embarrassing situation arose for Kumar when Giriraj Singh shouted at him when he was coming to talk to media on special category status outside the Assembly premises. Alleging JD(U) of indulging in political "witch hunting", Ramadhar Singh said he as minister of Cooperative department had made some notings on May 24 last year.

A notification for establishment of weather stations every 15 km and payment of insurance claim on its basis was issued on June 13, he said, adding, the BJP ministers were dropped from cabinet on June 16 following split in NDA. "Where was the time for us to implement the notification?" he asked.

They said that the two departments have been with Kumar since their departure. "Why did he not implement the notification? He should be blamed for it instead of pointing fingers on us," he said.

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