Bumpy start to UP budget session as members heckle Governor
Lucknow: The UP Assembly's budget session opened on a stormy note on Thursday as slogan-shouting lawmakers from opposition parties let loose a barrage of paper balls and balloons while Governor Ram Naik addressed a joint sitting of the state legislature highlighting the achievements of the Yogi Adityanath government.
As soon as the joint sitting of state Assembly and legislative council began, opposition members, in Gandhi caps of different colours representing their respective parties and armed with placards, started shouting slogans against the government.
"Governor go back," many shouted, while carrying placards that said, "Stop fake encounters of innocents" and "Stop atrocities on Muslims".
The Uttar Pradesh governor continued to read out his address for nearly an hour and a half as opposition members held up posters that said, "Kanoon vyasta past hai, Yogi baba mast hai" (there is no law and order, but Yogi is unconcerned), "Anti-farmer BJP government", and "Waive loans of farmers".
Samajwadi Party members also threw paper balls and paper planes towards the podium, and chucked balloons in the air in an apparent bid to distract the governor.
"You should behave like representatives of civilised society," the governor admonished them.
SP members also tried to move towards the governor but were physically prevented from doing so by the marshals.
The governor finished reading the 38-page address without any break.
Speaker Hriday Narain Dixit condemned the behaviour of the opposition members while thanking the Governor for completing his address despite the disruptions.
"The way in which members behaved is condemnable. The paper balls continued to fly but the undeterred governor carried on with his address for which we thank him," he said.
The opposition members raised slogans protesting against the law and order situation in the state right from the start of the address when the governor said tight security measures had helped fight crime.
His reference to the constitution of anti-Romeo squads to deal with harassment of women drew loud catcalls from the opposition benches, who pooh-poohed his claim that women were feeling safe in the state.
When the governor mentioned the UPCOC bill brought in by the government on the lines of the Maharashtra anti-terror law, the protests grew louder, with SP members raising their voices.
The governor mentioned policies initiated by the BJP government during its one year in office, particularly in agriculture, education, health, power and industrial development, but his speech was drowned by the ruckus kicked up by the agitated members.