Mayawati slams govt for stopping Opposition protests, SP MLAs want cops summoned for ‘privilege breach’

A day after Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav’s padyatra to the UP Assembly was stopped by police, BSP chief Mayawati hit out at the BJP government for not allowing Opposition parties to hold protests against its “anti-people policies”.

“Not allowing Opposition parties to stage protests against the government’s anti-people policies, autocratic behaviour and atrocities has become the new dictatorial behaviour of the BJP. Court cases, arresting people and the tendency to crush dissent is extremely dangerous,” Mayawati said in a tweet in Hindi.

“Before stopping the sit-in protests against inflation, poverty, unemployment, bad roads, education, health and law and order, the BJP should think about their own history of doing road jams on every other issue in the past and stalling the life of common people,” the BSP chief added.

Mayawati’s tweet came amidst Samajwadi Party MLAs sitting on a dharna in the Assembly, alleging that police force was used to deprive them of their right to participate in the House session on Monday.

Calling Monday’s police action a “breach of privilege of over 100 Samajwadi Party legislators” by Lucknow Police, the party demanded that the issue be discussed in the Assembly.

The protest that began during the start of Tuesday’s session continued even after the House was adjourned for the day.

“It is a breach of privilege to stop legislators from attending the Assembly using force. We demand that concerned police officers are called to the Assembly and the case should be heard here like a court. Over 110 MLAs were stopped from attending the Assembly session on Monday, which is their right,” said Samajwadi Party chief whip Manoj Pandey.

“Our legislators wanted to peacefully walk to Vidhan Sabha. There is nothing wrong with it. But heavy police force was deployed outside the Samajwadi Party office. Our MLAs were stopped from attending the House even when they showed their identity cards and MLA passes,” Pandey added.

Refuting the Samajwadi Party’s allegations, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Suresh Khanna said the Opposition’s demand for a discussion on breach of privilege cannot be met as the charges are “false”. “None of the police officers stopped SP legislators. They were told to take an alternative route to save the students and others from traffic woes… If SP MLAs wanted to take out march, then they should have taken permission from the authorities,” the minister said.

As SP Leaders insisted on their demand, Khanna said that it was surprising that they could not enter the House as claimed by them even as MLAs of their alliance partner RLD were able to reach Vidhan Sahba. “Inka political agenda tha, gate pe kisi ne nahi roka. Vidhan Parishad ke teeno sadasya ko kisi ne nahi roka” (They had their political agenda. No one stopped anyone on the gate. Their own three members of the Legislative Council were not stopped at the gate… No roka gaya, na jayega (No one was stopped, and no one will be),” Khanna added.

The minister also alleged that the administration feared that some “anti-social elements” could have joined the SP’s march and would have disturbed law and order.
On the government’s apprehension that “anti-social elements” could have entered the march, the Samajwadi Party chief whip said: “They are legislators, not anti-social elements”.

Soon, Samajwadi Party MLAs entered the well of the House shouting, “Tanashahi nahi chalegi, nahi chalegi”. They continued to sit in the well of the House even after Speaker Satish Mahana adjourned the House.

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