A day after the opposition BJP was embarrassed by its MLA assaulting his own party's MLC in the Bihar Assembly premises here, the ruling Grand Alliance — comprising JD-U, RJD and Congress — leaders accused the BJP of shielding its leader.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) Neeraj Singh Bablu reportedly beat up his party's Member of the Legislative Council (MLC) Lal Babu Prasad following a heated exchange of words over the latter's alleged misbehaviour with his wife Nutan Singh, who is also an MLC.
A number of members of both Houses, politicians and officials watched the incident with shock, according to an assembly official.
The unprecedented incident has forced the BJP leaders to go into defensive mode and downplay it, saying there was no formal complaint filed in connection with the fracas.
Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Yadav on Thursday fired at the BJP by demanding action against Lal Babu for his bid to "molest a woman MLC in the assembly premises".
"In the history of Bihar assembly, Wednesday has been recorded as a black day when a BJP MLC tried to molest a woman MLC of the same party in broad daylight that was witnessed by all," he said.
Tejaswi Yadav said that senior BJP leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi has been trying to save accused Lal Babu and putting pressure on the BJP MLC not to report the case.
"I demand Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah to take action against Sushil Modi for protecting accused Lal Babu."
Tejaswi Yadav said this latest incident has exposed the BJP's double standards on the safety of women. "Our stand has been vindicated that the BJP is anti-women and a party of goons."
His mother and former Chief Minister Rabri Devi also raised this issue in the Bihar Legislative Council and requested the Speaker to take notice and initiate action against accused Lal Babu. She is the leader of the RJD in the council.
"BJP's 'kathni' (words) and 'karni' (deeds) are different on women empowerment and demand of reservation for them. It has failed to protect a woman MLC, who was a victim of sexual harassment by an MLC of her own party," Rabri charged.
Bihar's ruling JD-U spokesperson Neeraj Kumar said that the BJP should act against its MLC Lal Babu instead of protecting him.
"BJP's double character has been exposed for all to see. The party with difference is behaving differently when its own MLC has misbehaved with own party's MLC."
Bihar Congress President and state Education Minister Ashok Choudhary dared the BJP to act against its MLC accused of a serious crime against the woman MLC.
So far, under pressure from the party, both Neeraj Singh and Lal Babu have said that nothing of this sort had happened, but they failed to explain why the Speaker of the Council had called them for a meeting in his official chamber on Wednesday.
Interestingly, Neeraj is known as "Dabang" for his muscle power and Lal Babu is one of the vocal BJP spokespersons on TV channels and is known for his proximity to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. Unlike Neeraj, who was a JD-U legislator in the last assembly, Lal Babu is a champion of Hindutva politics.