Accusing the BJP government of suppressing its voice, Opposition parties on Thursday walked out of the Assembly with SP and BSP announcing that their members will boycott the House for the rest of the session. As soon as the Assembly met for the day, Leader of Opposition (LoP) Ram Govind Chowdhury, from the SP, claimed that the Opposition was being threatened not to speak. “They are threatening to put our entire family in jail. Members are being humiliated and we are not getting protection from the Speaker. I have never seen such a situation in the House in past 40 years. We all are walking out, now you run it (the House) as you want,” Chowdhury said.
BSP and Congress leaders joined in the protest and all Opposition members walked out of the House. “So far, it has been decided that the entire Opposition will boycott the session. Opposition leaders will meet to discuss the issue,” said Chowdhury, adding that “BJP was not concerned with democracy”.
Maintaining that his party will boycott the rest of the session, BSP leader Lalji Verma said: “The CM (Yogi Adityanath) gave a (Budget) speech in the House on Wednesday with arrogance and used insulting words for the Opposition. The speech was against the rules because usually, the finance minister speaks during discussion on the Budget. Moreover, the Leader of Opposition was not allowed to speak.”
“Yesterday, after the finance minister’s address, there was no provision of address by the Leader of House. If he was allowed, the LoP is also entitled to address. This is against the dignity of the House. Unparliamentary words are also being used. There is no point remaining in the House in such a scenario,” he added.
Congress Legislature Party leader Ajay Kumar ‘Lallu’, meanwhile, said he will seek the opinion of the party’s central leadership to take a call on whether to boycott the rest of the session. “This was the first time in the history of the House that microphone of the Leader of Opposition was switched off (on Wednesday). The CM used threatening words to gag the voice of the Opposition. First time, Budget for various departments was passed in the House in absence of the Opposition today,” said Lallu.
After Opposition members walked out during Question Hour, Speaker Hridya Narayan Dixit adjourned the House for some time. When the House reconvened, the ministers concerned proposed the budgets for departments of industry, agriculture, small industries, handloom, textiles, public works, entertainment tax, public enterprises, horticulture, sports and vocational education. The Budgets were passed in the absence of any Opposition member.
While addressing the Assembly, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Suresh Kumar Khanna said it was incorrect that the voice of the Opposition has been suppressed and that the government is working with ‘ahankaar’ (arrogance) due to its numbers. “What’s wrong in announcing a CBI probe in recruitments done by the UP Public Service Commission from 2012. It is a justified move. We have got mandate and message among people should go that we are there for the people. No unparliamentary words were used,” he said.
The Opposition was running away from its responsibilities, he added. “Yogiji has presented the government’s working in argumentative way and it was just annoyance of the Opposition and their action is not justified,” Khanna said, adding that he had spoken to the LoP before coming to the House on Thursday morning. “Chowdhury appeared normal and did not mention anything that time,” said Khanna.
Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya said the Opposition stayed away from the House without any reason because “they do not want to face truth of the Budget”.
Later, the Speaker told mediapersons that said he had given due time to the Opposition to speak. “LoP presented his views and left the House. They should have heard me before leaving the House. It is unfortunate. I request the Opposition to participate in proceedings as 22 crore people have sent them here to raise their voice,” he added.
When asked whether the mike of LoP was stopped during his address on Wednesday, Dixit said it was not so. “When we move forward to the next matter in the House, it is stopped. I have requested the Opposition to return, I think they will (come back),” he added.
Meanwhile, similar uproar were witnessed in the Legislative Council too as Opposition members squatted in the Well as soon as the Council met.
Alleging that Adityanath had threatened the Opposition in the Assembly on Wednesday and Chowdhury’s mike was switched off, Leader of Opposition Ahmad Hasan said: “As the government has failed to control law and order, it is silencing the Opposition.”
All the while, SP members raised slogans like “detergent (powder) wali ye sarkar nahi chalegi”, alleging that the powder found in the Assembly recently was detergent and not explosive. Soon, they were joined by BSP and Congress members.
At the beginning of the Question Hour, SP, BSP and Congress members trooped into the Well to object to the CM’s Budget speech on Wednesday. This lead to the House being adjourned for 30 minutes, which was later extended. When the House resumed, Opposition members again started sloganeering. Following this, Chairman Ramesh Yadav adjourned the House till 3.30 pm.
The Opposition members continued their protest and threw papers towards the chair. Following this, Yadav adjourned the House for next day.
With PTI Inputs