Updated: October 19, 2021 4:55:30 am
Rebel Samajwadi Party (SP) MLA Nitin Agrawal was elected the Deputy Speaker of the Uttar Pradesh on Monday amid Opposition allegations of anomalies and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Congress announcing a boycott. Agrawal defeated SP-backed Narendra Verma by 244 votes.
As Agrawal, who had the backing of the ruling BJP, got 304 of 364 valid polled votes, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath told the Opposition that the victory was indicative of the result of 2022 Assembly polls in the state, calling SP “anti-youth” for fielding a candidate against a young leader like Agrawal.
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“I knew they will say that there were anomalies in the elections. They blame the EVMs whenever the public’s verdict goes against them…I feel that this has also shown us what to expect from the coming Assembly elections,” said Adityanath after the results were declared by Speaker Hriday Narayan Dixit.
Taking a swipe at the SP, the CM said, “The SP is anti-youth…they cannot protect their own members from infighting…For some, their family is the party while for us, the entire state is family.”
Leader of Opposition Ram Govind Chaudhary cited numbers to claim real victory for the SP. “We were 49 in number, three left, so we were 46 but how many votes have we got? So whose victory is this? It is an indication that in 2022 also, our numbers will increase,” adding that SP chief Akhilesh Yadav has a huge base among the youth.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Suresh Khanna said the SP, despite being the biggest Opposition party, could not unite the Opposition in favour of their candidate.
Meanwhile, though the BSP and Congress announced boycott of the polls, some of the rebel MLAs of both the parties participated in the voting, including Congress Rae Bareli MLA Aditi Singh.
Congress sources said five party MLAs did not vote. Earlier in the day, the Opposition demanded that the election be postponed as they had not been consulted before the selection of candidate, and that the name should have been recommended by the largest Opposition party. Both the BSP and the Congress staged a walkout when the Speaker did not relent.
The day’s proceedings followed protests by the SP and the Congress. SP members reached Vidhan Sabha sporting black ribbons and carrying black balloons and cutouts of LPG cylinders in protest against the rising prices of LPG.
The Congress staged a protest at the statue of Chaudhary Charan Singh. Carrying placards, its members demanded the removal of Union Minister Ajay Mishra over the Lakhimpur Kheri incident and sought justice for farmers.
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