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Opposition boycotts UP Assembly, holds parallel ‘House’

LiveMint logoLiveMint 24-07-2017 PTI

Lucknow: Opposition members on Monday boycotted the proceedings of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly for the third day, accusing the Leader of the House Yogi Adityanath of not taking any initiative to end the deadlock, even as the Speaker termed their stand as “unfortunate”.

Instead of participating in the proceedings of the House, members of the Samajwadi Party (SP), the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Congress sat in the central hall and ran a parallel “House”. With just four days of the budget session left, Speaker Hriday Narain Dixit expressed displeasure at the opposition’s move. It’s “unfortunate”, he told media persons outside the House which was adjourned after condoling the death of BJP MLA Mathura Prasad Pal, who died after prolonged illness.

“I had called the opposition for a meeting of the business advisory committee that decides agenda of the House. I was expecting them to participate in the proceedings as condolence was to be taken up on the death of a legislator. It’s unfortunate,” Dixit said. “The alternative of House is the House alone”, Dixit emphasised adding that the opposition members should raise their voice in the Assembly itself.

Asked about the opposition’s allegations that the microphone was switched off when Leader of the Opposition Ram Govind Chowdhury was speaking in the House, Dixit said that no such thing had happened. The opposition has accused the treasury benches of threatening them, using unparliamentary language and decided to boycott the entire session.

“The government is not serious on the issues being raised by the opposition. No attempt has been made by the Leader of the House (Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath) to end the deadlock and run the House. To mark our protest, we sat at the central hall and I was made Leader of the House, while Ram Govind Chowdhury was leader of opposition and Lalji Verma was made Speaker,” Congress Legislature Party leader Ajay Kumar Lallu told PTI.

He said that it was unfortunate that the chief minister was not present in the House today at the time of the condolence resolution. “It has been a tradition that Leader of the House reads the resolution but the CM was not present and it was read by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Suresh Kumar Khanna,” Lallu said. He claimed that instead of discussion on matters like law and order, farmers’ issues, unemployment which were being raised by the opposition, the government was “threatening” members.

This will not be tolerated, he said. Under the previous regime, when BJP member Upendra Tiwari sat on a dharna, the then Parliamentary Affairs minister Azam Khan, senior minister Shivpal Yadav and Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey had reached out to him, he said, claiming that the present government did not want to run the House with the opposition.

Earlier, with the opposition boycotting proceedings, the budgets of 75 departments were cleared on Friday when the government conducted its entire business in less than two hours. The Question Hour ended in just a few minutes. Now, only the budgets of home and general administration departments are to be passed before the House is adjourned sine die.

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