Bihar government imposed a ban on chewing betel leaves and tobacco products inside the state assembly on Thursday.
Bihar Assembly Speaker Udai Narayan Choudhary Thursday prohibited chewing of paan (betel leaf), gutka and khaini (tobacco products) by legislators inside the assembly.
The move will not only have a salubrious impact on the health of the legislators but also save the walls of the legislative assembly that have been discoloured by the obnoxious habit of spitting.
Choudhary's direction came after senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator and former deputy speaker Bhola Singh raised the issue and demanded action against those chewing tobacco products in the house.
'This is an insult to the image of the house,' he said.
Bhola Singh said ministers cutting across party lines - from the ruling Janata Dal-United, the BJP, to the opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal and Congress - could be seen chewing paan, gutka or khaini while in the house.
The opposition RJD members welcomed the proposal and said they would abide by it.
However, some ministers objected to the move and said it was difficult for them to break the habit. 'We cannot think without chewing paan,' a senior minister said.
Chewing tobacco products is a common practice across the state. But its impact is deadly with hundreds being afflicted by mouth cancer and other diseases.