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Stormy start, SP protests Governor’s speech

The Budget session of the UP Assembly began on a stormy note on Monday with Samajwadi Party legislators entering the well of the House during Governor Anandiben Patel’s address to the joint sitting of the Assembly and Legislative Council.

Carrying placards against the BJP government on issues of price rise, farmers, unemployment, law and order among others, the SP members shouted “Go back, Governor” slogan, and kept shouting and hooting even as Patel continued her speech for an hour and 15 minutes.

The BSP, Congress and RLD members were also protesting against the Governor’s address separately.

Later speaking to mediapersons, Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya condemned the protest by SP members calling it “indecent”. “The SP has exposed its character. Its members neither showed respect to the Governor nor to a woman,” Maurya said.

In her address, Governor Patel outlined the development initiatives of the past five years of the Yogi Adityanath government and said that in the next five years, the government “will be competing with itself for good governance”.

“Expressing faith in nationalism, good governance, security and development, the prudent people of UP have given my (Yogi Adityanath) government an opportunity to serve the state again,” the Governor said.

Such an opportunity was given to any government after 37 years, which proves that the government has fully met the expectations of the people, she said. “Uttar Pradesh will script a new story in development in the next five years… Work will now be done to increase investment and strengthen infrastructure to make UP a leading state,” she added.

Earlier in the day, welcoming the newly elected members, Chief Minister Adityanath said the Budget would be for “the development of 25 crore people of the state, and for the betterment of every section of the society”.

Assuring members that everyone would get the opportunity to put forward their views for the development of the state and benefit of poor, youth, farmers, and half the population, the chief minister said that members would be able to speak only when the Opposition parties would give them such an environment.

Meanwhile, as Samajwadi Party members protested during the Governor’s speech, cracks in the main opposition party came to the fore.

Senior SP leader Azam Khan, who took the oath of MLA on Monday after he was released on bail last week, chose to skip the first day of the Assembly proceedings. His son and SP MLA from Suar, Abdullah Azam Khan, attended the joint sitting but did not take part in the protests.

He and Shivpal Yadav, the SP MLA from Jaswantnagar, were seen seated quietly unfazed by the commotion surrounding them as SP members, donning red caps, rushed to the well of the House to protest.

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This created an uneasy situation in the Samajwadi Party benches as either some members were seen approaching the two leaders or they preferred to sit with them. However, soon they were interrupted by the new chief whip of the party Manoj Pandey, who asked them to join the protest and raise their placards.  But Pandey did not ask both Abdullah and Shivpal.

Notably, Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party of Om Prakash Rajbhar also kept away from the protest during the Governor’s address. Rajbhar, who is an ally of the Samajwadi Party, did not join the SP members in the protest.

On being asked about the SP’s protest, Rajbhar said, “I am not ‘malik’ (head) of all parties. I head my party only.”

When asked whether his party will be leaving the alliance with the SP, Rajbhar said, “This question does not arise.”

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