The Budget Session of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly got off to a stormy start on Friday as Opposition MLAs disrupted Governor Ram Naik’s customary address to the joint sitting of the two Houses. Also, the old protocol was followed while receiving the Governor at the Assembly.
Even Naik’s letter to all leaders, urging them to remain silent and maintain decorum during his address, fell on deaf ears. Barring BJP, all parties jumped into the well, raising slogans of Rajyapal Wapas Jao (Governor go back). Amid the din, Naik completed the formality of reading a few lines of his address and left the House.
On Thursday, following opposition by political parties, the state government had deferred the implementation of the new guidelines — issued recently by the President’s office — on how to receive the Governor during the joint session. As per the new rules, the Governor would arrive in a procession amid blowing of trumpets and be received by the chief minister and others at the entrance of the Assembly. Following this, the CM and others would follow him in a procession to the Assembly. The guidelines were issued after Naik took up the matter with the President.
However, the old protocol was followed on Friday and Naik was received by Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey and Pro-tem Chairman of the Legislative Council, Om Prakash Sharma, on his arrival at the Vidhan Sabha. CM Akhilesh Yadav and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Azam Khan welcomed him in the gallery. The Raj Bhavan, however, issued a press statement mentioning that according to the new protocol, the Governor was given a guard of honour.
As Naik reached the Assembly podium, BSP MLAs carrying banners took the lead in jumping into the well. They were followed by Congress and RLD members.
Asked why they did not join the Opposition parties in the protest, BJP leader Suresh Khanna later said that it was out of courtesy, as the President had sent a letter in this regard. “But that does not mean we accept all that has been written in the governor’s address,” he added.
During his address, Naik read the first 10 pages of his speech. He said the state government has fulfilled all its promises and there is no difference in its words and deed. He also highlighted schemes such as 108, 102 ambulance service, Lucknow-Agra Expressway and Lohia Awas scheme, among others.
In all, he spoke for nearly 20 minutes, unlike the past when the Governor used to only read the first and last lines of his address if there was a protest by the Opposition. Later, the Speaker and Pro-tem Chairman of Legislative Council escorted Naik to the lift of the Vidhan Bhavan.
When the House reassembled at 12.30 pm, Leader of Opposition Swami Prasad Maurya said as the Governor was not able to complete his address, there was no point of tabling it. However, the Speaker turned him down and tabled the address.