The Budget Session of Uttar Pradesh legislature got off to a stormy start today as slogan-shouting opposition lawmakers disrupted Governor Ram Naik's customary address to the joint sitting of the two Houses.
Rejecting the Governor's appeal earlier that they listen to his address peacefully, opposition members belonging to BSP, Congress and RLD, but barring those from BJP, were up on their feet the moment Naik entered the House.
BSP members wearing blue caps (party colour) led the opposition charge with cries of 'Governor go back' with Congress members too holding up banners in the Well.
Some of the Congress legislators were wearing caps in their party colours and bearing pictures of their leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.
Slogans like 'kanoon vyavastha dhwast hai, Akhilesh sarkar mast hai", "bijli, pani durust karo, varna kursi khali karo" and "kisan virodhi SP sarkar, barkhast karo, barkhast karo" were raised by the opposition members, who also tried to rush towards the podium during the Governor's speech.
Even as the address was drowned in the din, BJP members, however, did not leave their seats.
Asked why they had not joined the opposition parties in the protest, BJP leaders Suresh Khanna and Hriday Narain Dixit later said it was out of courtesy as the President of India had sent a letter in this regard.
"But that does not mean we accept all that has been written in the governor's address," they said.
Doing away with the usual practice of governors winding up their speech by merely reading the opening and concluding lines, Naik continued with his address for over 20 minutes and read the speech partially without showing any sign of hurry.
In his 110-page address in Hindi, the Governor spelt out the policies, programmes and achievements of the Akhilesh Yadav government.
Later, when the two Houses met separately, BSP continued the protest over the governor's address and staged a walk out from the Assembly.
Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey adjourned the House till February 8 after hurriedly completing the days's agenda.
In his address, Naik said the SP government has tightened its belt to bring about all-round prosperity, progress and balanced development in Uttar Pradesh.
"On one hand a congenial climate for investment has been created by improving basic facilities, leading to an increase in growth rate while, on the other, the government has liberally worked for the betterment of farmers, villages," he said.
Stressing on the importance of farmers in the progress of the state and country, for which the current year has been declared as 'Year of Farmers', he said the state government disbursed the largest amount of relief among cultivators affected by adverse weather.
"Even half of the relief amount that we demanded from the Centre has not been delivered to us after several months," said Naik.
The address highlighted various development works and stressed on the importance of keeping crime under check and streamlining the law and order apparatus.
He said the UP "government has worked in this direction with a sense of alacrity and maintained communal harmony and law and order all over the state, despite the attempts made by mischievous elements and communal forces".
The Akhilesh government has "taken several steps due to which complete peace and security was maintained throughout the state last year... During this period festivals, traditional religious processions were conducted in a peaceful and amicable atmosphere.
"Panchayat elections were also held in free and fair manner," he said.