Ex-minister, RJD leader throws down another gauntlet: To move private Bill

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Former Bihar agriculture minister and RJD’s Ramgarh MLA Sudhakar Singh, who recently resigned because of his differences with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, is all set to present a private Bill in the upcoming winter session of the Assembly on the restoration of the mandi system and engagement of multiple agencies to purchase wheat and rice. Singh has also made provisions in the Bill to make non-payment of MSP a punishable offence.

Singh had resigned in October after Kumar did not concede to his demands to restore the mandi system and engage multiple agencies in place of the existing agency — Primary Agriculture Cooperative Credit Society (PACCS). Singh, son of RJD state president Jagdanand Singh, had alleged rampant corruption in the agriculture department.

Jagdanand Singh, who had stopped coming to the RJD office because the party was not backing his son, recently resumed office after 44 days.

Talking to The Indian Express, Singh said, “First, my views are not against my party’s views. Second, it is my right as an MLA to present a private Bill. After the mandi system was removed in 2006, did farmers’ income go up? If not, let us go back to the system. I also want to ensure through the private member Bill that farmers get MSP and those who do not pay MSP be punished.”

Asked what if his act embarrasses the Grand Alliance government, Singh said, “I represent my people. As a minister, I had wanted some reforms in the agriculture sector to help out the farmers.”

On what if the Assembly Speaker does not allow the Bill since it could be discomforting for the government, Singh said, “In that case, the Speaker will have to pass a detailed order on why the Bill could not be allowed. I have proposed fresh provisions.”

Singh had raked up controversy in September by saying at a public function in Ramgarh that the “lower level of the bureaucracy in the agriculture department was corrupt and he was the ‘choron ka sardar (head of the thieves)”.



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