BSP MLAs unleash chaos in House over law and order issue
Force Governor BL Joshi to cut his address short by raising slogans against SP’s vindictive attitude
Virendra Nath Bhatt
An unusually belligerent and combative batch of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLAs on Tuesday disrupted Governor B L Joshi's address to the joint session of the UP legislature. The opening day of the first session of the 16th state assembly was disrupted over alleged deterioration in the law and order situation, exploitation of farmers and other issues.
As soon as the Governor escorted by the UP assembly speaker Mata Prasad Pandey and Chairman of the UP legislative council Ganesh Pande, entered the assembly hall, the BSP members stormed into the Well of the House.
The BSP members raised anti-Samajwadi Party (SP) slogans, threw paper balls towards the Governor and waved banners and posters carrying slogans against the government many of which said, “Governor Go back”. Many BSP members climbed on tables and shouted slogans demanding dismissal of the SP government over bad law and order situation, while alleging vendetta let loose by the Akhilesh Yadav government such as the scrapping of schemes named after Dalit icons initiated during the Mayawati regime and renaming of several other welfare schemes.
The marshal and the security staff had a tough time shielding Joshi from the barrage of paper balls and missiles thrown by the irate BSP members. The Governor soon left and the house was adjourned for the day.
In its more than two decades of presence in the UP assembly, the BSP has for the first time attained the status of the opposition party. Also it was the first time in its history that the BSP in an organised manner prevented the Governor from reading his address.
The Congress and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) members, too, joined the BSP from their seats showing posters on the alleged deteriorating law and order situation and irregularities in wheat purchasing centers. Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav kept silent while watching the disturbance take place. Governor Joshi then read his address in brief for five minutes and then left the House. Later, BSP members staged a brief dharna outside the House.
Pandey regretted the conduct of the BSP members. “It was most unfortunate that the opposition party created bedlam in the house in an organised manner, they should have cooperated in the smooth conduct of the house and the Governor to read the full address,” the speaker said.
Later, the leader of opposition and senior BSP leader Swami Prasad Maurya defended the ruckus by saying, “We had no option but to resort to the extreme option of creating disturbance in the House as we wanted the government to awaken from deep slumber. The law and order is in a shambles, the farmers are being cheated as they were forced for the distress sale of the wheat as over 4,000 wheat procurement centres were not operational.” He added, “We were forced to disturb the Governor's address as ‘‘anarchy’’ prevails in the state during SP's regime.”
The BSP leader maintained that the law and order situation in the state has gone out of control and people are suffering due to power crisis. He charged that instead of doing anything for the common people, the SP government is trying to defame the previous BSP government and is vindictive.
The SP condemned the conduct of the opposition BSP. “The BSP indulged in despicable act only to hide their frustration over the drubbing they got during the recent assembly election,” said the Parliamentary Affairs minister Azam Khan adding, “the opposition has every right to raise the issues of the people in a democratic manner but creating disturbance in the house can never be a solution to any problem.”
Congress state president Rita Bahuguna Joshi, who is a first time member of the assembly, said the Congress and RLD will raise the people's problems and would not allow the government to keep silent on the matter. BJP leader Hukum Singh said they are annoyed with the Governor's move for not including the issue of law and order in his address.
Earlier in his address the Governor Joshi criticised the previous Mayawati government. “UP had a glorious past and has produced many great leaders. However, UP during the last five years witnessed rampant corruption, atrocities on the common people and the jungle raj unparallel in the history of the nation. The people got nothing except stones statues and memorials.” The Governor further said, “Owing to political degradation during the last five years several incidents that took place during that period brought shame to the whole state. My government has formulated the agenda of development in place of plunder, which was rampant during the last five years. This agenda of my government will take the state forward on the path of progress.”
Criticism of the previous government by the Governor Joshi in his joint address to the both the houses of the UP legislature after the formation of the new government has become a new tradition in UP. In May 2007, after Mayawati took over as chief minister, the then Governor TV Rajeswar in his joint address had described the previous SP government as ‘unconstitutional’.
Virendra Nath Bhatt is a Special Correspondent with Tehelka.