BSP disrupts parliament over Uttar Pradesh relief package (Roundup)

April 22nd, 2008 - 10:52 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Bahujan Samaj Party

New Delhi, April 22 (IANS) The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) forced adjournments of both houses of parliament Tuesday over its demand for a Rs.800 billion development package for Uttar Pradesh and maintained its long-standing proposal had nothing to do with Congress MP Rahul Gandhi’s recent visits to parts of the state. “Our demand is not 15 days or a month old. We first made the demand for a special package of Rs.800 billion for Bundelkhand and Purvanchal regions of Uttar Pradesh in June 2007. This demand has nothing to do with any individual or leader from any political party,” Satish Chandra Mishra, BSP MP and national general secretary of the party, told reporters.

BSP MPs disrupted proceedings of the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha soon after the two houses met for question hour. They raised slogans against the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government and alleged discrimination against Uttar Pradesh.

In the Rajya Sabha, the BSP members left their allotted seats and were heard shouting “Uttar Pradesh ke saath bhed bhav band karo, band karo!” (Stop discriminating against Uttar Pradesh).

The presiding officers in both houses tried to pacify the members but were forced to adjourn proceedings when the protesters remained unrelenting.

In the Lok Sabha, BSP launched a veiled attack on Gandhi for “politicising” issues related to farmers in the Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh and demanded a discussion about the plight of farmers of Bundelkhand.

Visiting the region Friday, Gandhi led protesting farmers and forced officials to hear their complaints about the rural job guarantee scheme, a flagship programme of the Manmohan Singh government.

Failing to pacify the BSP MPs, Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee adjourned the house till 12 p.m.

Later the MPs displayed placards and raised slogans at the entrance of the parliament building, accusing the government of failing to stop the price rise.

Mishra said Uttar Pradesh had been ruled for 57 years since independence by the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) and other non-BSP governments and they were responsible for widespread poverty and backwardness in Bundelkhand and Purvanchal.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said: “Constructive suggestions for the development of any region are welcome. But there should be no political motive behind them.”

He argued that the Planning Commission had made “unprecedented allocations” to Uttar Pradesh.

“To press for more funds the state should take up the issue with the Finance Commission as per the norm. It can also ask for the Backward Area Regional Fund,” Singhvi suggested.

But Mishra countered the argument that enough funds had been provided and the state had failed to fully utilize them.

“It is wrong to say that we have not been able to utilize the funds allocated to the state. I have all details which show that this is untrue,” he said.

BSP, which gives outside support to the UPA government, has given two months to the ruling coalition to sanction the funds, threatening to withdraw support if the demand was not met. It has 17 members in the Lok Sabha.

The BSP MPs’ move to stall parliament proceedings is being seen as an indicator of the sharpening differences between the Congress and the BSP.

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