Mayawati defends forcible removal of opposition legislators

February 22nd, 2011 - 7:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, Feb 22 (IANS) Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati Tuesday sought to justify Speaker Sukhdeo Rajhbhar’s action to get protesting opposition legislators bodily lifted and removed from the state assembly late Monday night.In her statement read out at a press conference by additional cabinet secretary Ravindra Singh, Maywati also termed as “baseless” and “uncalled for” the opposition attitude towards the change in the mayoral elections.

Defending police’s use of force against Samajwadi Party supporters outside the assembly as also physical removal of the opposition members from the assembly, the chief minister said: “The administration is bound to use force against those who attempt to take the law into their hands. Evidently, the authorities were compelled to take action because of the lawlessness resorted to by the culprits.”

Opposition members staged a protest inside the assembly well past midnight Monday, opposing the Mayawati government’s move to do away with the prevailing system of direct election of mayors. They were eventually removed by marshals from the house at 1.30 a.m.

About the change in the process to elect mayors, Mayawati said: “What my government did was nothing new. We have simply decided to revert to a practice that was followed for four long decades after independence.”

“In fact, the system of direct elections had been in vogue just for the past 16 years and we decided to bring about the change in view of the experience that the erstwhile indirect election of the mayor was a more workable and pragmatic,” she said.

She added that the past experience showed “the earlier practice of indirect elections ensured better coordination and understanding between elected representatives of municipal corporations and mayors and that in turn proved more effective in fulfilling the expectations of the people.”

“The law clearly provides for affecting such a change in the larger public interest, which was what we were aiming to do,” Mayawati added.

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