Lucknow, Feb 9 (IANS) The Samajwadi Party and the BJP Wednesday staged a walkout from the Uttar Pradesh assembly to protest against the absence of Chief Minister Mayawati from the house when Leader of Opposition Shiv Pal Yadav was to move a cut motion on the state’s annual budget.
Yadav’s flat refusal to deliver his speech in the absence of Mayawati received loud support from several opposition leaders, who lambasted the chief minister for not showing any respect for the tradition and convention of compulsory presence during the customary address by the leader of the opposition on the state’s annual budget.
Yadav then staged a walkout, which was instantly followed by his Samajwadi Party members and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) counterparts, following which Mayawati was compelled to come to the house Wednesday afternoon.
The first to raise the objection was BJP leader and well-known veteran parliamentarian Hukum Singh, who said: “Even though the assembly was meeting after a long gap of six months, the chief minister was taking it very lightly which reflects her utter indifference to democratic values and traditions.”
Samajwadi Party’s Azam Khan was quick to follow course. “The chief minister’s absence from the house at this juncture reflects the little respect she has for democratic institutions; this further shows how she considers herself a Maharani, who is only busy getting her shoes wiped by he officials,” he remarked, referring to Tuesday’s outrage over a TV clip showing a deputy superintendent of police cleaning her shoes with his hankerchief.
“It is high time she realised that the opposition represents the voice of the people in a democracy,” he said, adding that “it was a matter of shame that she gloats over her feudal ways and mannerisms”.
Eventually, Mayawati walked into the assembly at 2 p.m., pleading that she had been held back because of her meeting with a high-level team of census department. However, she hit back at Shiv Pal Yadav by pointing out that he “ought to realise that even he was not present in the house when the budget was being presented before the house yesterday (Tuesday)”.
While pleading that he had formally informed the speaker about his absence on account of a “prior engagement”, Shiv Pal Yadav attacked Mayawati largely on the law and order front. “Crime is on the rise and criminals have a field day across the state, where rapes have become an everyday affair,” Yadav alleged.
In her prompt reply, Mayawati said: “I have jailed criminals irrespective of the party they belonged to; that is the reason that crime in UP (Uttar Pradesh) is much less in comparison to states ruled by the Congress and BJP.”