Opposition legislators in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly on Thursday threw paper balls, paper planes and balloons at Governor Ram Naik during his customary address to the joint sitting of the Legislative Assembly and Council at the beginning of the budget session. Speaker Hriday Narain Dixit’s warnings to the MLAs went unheeded, while Chief Minister Yogi Adiyanath and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav watched quietly.
Governor Naik did complete his half-hour-long address, during which some Samajwadi Party MLAs sat wearing garlands of potatoes — their attempt to highlight the problems faced by tuber farmers.
As soon as Naik began his address, Samajwadi, BSP and Congress members took to the well of the House with placards and banners in hand.
Naik told the legislators to behave in a civilised manner. “Aap sabhya samaj ke pratinidhi hain, iske viprit vyavahar kar rahein hain (you are representatives of a civilised society, your behaviour is the opposite),” he said as soon as the Opposition members started throwing paper balls at him.
Later, Speaker Dixit said the behaviour of the Opposition was “condemnable”.
The Opposition’s placards cited fake encounters, exploitation of Muslims and the Kasganj violence and arrests relating to the communal clash as reasons for the protest in the House. “Nirdoshon ka farzi encounter band karo (stop fake encounters of innocents)”, “Musalmanon ka utpeeran band karo (stop oppression of Muslims)” and “Kansganj ke sampradayik hinsa mein nirdosh logon pe zulm bandh karo (stop harassing innocents in Kansganj)”, some of the placards read.
Naik said: “My government has established rule of law by generating a crime-free, fear-free and injustice-free environment in the state…. Effective action is being taken as per law against the criminal and mafia elements.” He said the government was making efforts for “promotion of communal harmony and national integration… among different religions, communities and other sections of the society”.
He listed the Uttar Pradesh Control of Organised Crime Bill, formation of anti-Romeo squads, the anti-obscene call cell, anti-land mafia task force as well as the decision of the government to establish a women’s battalion in the current financial year, among achievements of the government.
Later in the day, as separate sittings of the Legislative Council and Assembly began, similar scenes of protest were seen in the Legislative Council, which was adjourned for the day.
Adityanath, who watched Assembly proceedings quietly as Opposition members called him “Yogi Baba”, later criticised the behaviour of the MLAs. He even pointed out that everything happened in the presence of senior leaders of the Samajwadi Party, indirectly pointing to Akhilesh.
“Parliamentary decorum was shattered today as paper balls and balloons were thrown at the Governor,” he said. “The way the Samajwadi Party members used indecent language in the presence of their leaders is unparliamentary, unconstitutional and condemnable,” he said outside the House.
He said the behaviour of the Samajwadi Party members showed they want “arajakta (anarchy)” inside the House.
He warned the Samajwadi party members: “Apne aacharan ko sudharein…. Yeh jo laal topi hai, woh janta na chheen le (Improve your behaviour…. This red cap, the people will snatch it from you),” he said.
Samajwadi leaders criticised Adityanath and Naik. “What is unparliamentary is that the Governor’s address began with a delay of about 15 minutes, that is why Opposition members were shouting ‘go back’. A few days ago, the Governor had called incidents like in Kansganj a blot and today he was speaking about the achievements of the government and law and order, among other things,” said Leader of Opposition and Samajwadi leader Ram Govind Chaudhary.
He said the Opposition was forced to protest as in incidents like Kasganj, the government was taking “one-sided action”. “People of the Muslim community were peacefully celebrating January 26, when those associated with groups linked to the BJP intervened. Now, one-sided action is being taken as there is no action against those who created disturbance or actually fired the gun,” Chaudhary said.
The budget is scheduled to be placed on February 16.