UP Assembly adjourns sine die, opposition cries foul

Lucknow, Feb 28 (PTI) The Uttar Pradesh Assembly was on Friday abruptly adjourned a week ahead of schedule with the BJP-majority House passing the state Budget without a detailed department-by-department discussion, a move protested by the Opposition.

The Budget session was earlier supposed to continue till March 6. But a revised schedule brought in by the government scrapped the remaining sittings.

The Budget presented in the assembly on February 18 was passed by voice vote, before Speaker Hriday Narayan Dikshit adjourned the session sine die.

The opposition accused the government of running away from a thorough discussion and “killing democracy”. Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party MLAs walked out of the House in protest.

Also as a mark of protest, many opposition members stayed put in the assembly chamber for an hour even after the adjournment.

The assembly’s business advisory committee had earlier decided that the budgets of different departments will be discussed separately, Leader of Opposition Ram Govind Chaudhary said.

The SP leader said this would have given the opposition parties a chance to move cut motions.

Such motions, seeking a reduction in budget allocations, routinely get defeated in the House if the government of the day has the numbers. Yet they allow parties to express opposition to the provisions.

“The government has brought a supplementary agenda, getting all important budgets passed in one go,' Chaudhary complained.

Bahujan Samaj Party’s Lalji Verma claimed that the government is running away from serious issues that the Opposition planned to raise in the session. He said this amounted to flouting democratic values.

Chaudhary assured the Speaker that if a fuller discussion on the Budget takes place, his party will not cause any disruptions.

He said it will not stage any walkout or even utter a word but the House should run according to the earlier plan.

Making this point, SP MLAs covered their mouths with masks and sat through silently as the Budget and the Appropriation Bill were passed by voice vote.

Congress MLA Aradhana Mishra said Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had himself assured that each point in the Budget will be discussed.

The department-by-department discussions on budgetary provisions began on February 24. Ninety-five departments were yet to be taken up discussion The Congress and the BSP walked out charging that the BJP government was trying to get the Budget passed in a hurry, taking advantage of its numbers in the House.

Finance Minister Suresh Khanna countered the charge, saying very few sittings of the assembly used to be held when the SP and the BSP were in power.

After the adjournment, many opposition members continued in the chamber for about another hour, the MLAs said.

'The normal timing of the House is till 5.00 pm, so we remained in the House till 5.00 pm,' SP MLA Ujjwal Raman Singh told PTI.

'The government is killing democracy. We want the House to run and are ready to cooperate. They are running away. Why they are scared now? With such brute majority, can we unseat the government?” he said.

'We want to convey the message that we are not running away or shying away from any discussion,” he added.

Congress Legislative Party leader Aradhana Mishra said the sine die adjournment was not discussed even at Thursday’s meeting of the business advisory committee.

In a tweet, the SP called the adjournment “murder of democracy by the BJP government”. PTI SAB NAV ASH