The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) government in Uttar Pradesh, led by Ms. Mayawati, came under severe criticism in the Lok Sabha from the Congress and the Samajwadi Party over the treatment meted out to the Opposition in Uttar Pradesh.
The issue led to a spat among the MPs from the three parties, forcing adjournment of the House for 40 minutes in the pre-lunch session.
While the Congress raised the issue of a Union Minister being prevented from going to a site in Rae Bareli where a bridge had been built under a Centrally sponsored scheme, SP members protested against the use of force by the State police on a religious procession in Bareilly led by their leaders.
The issue of the Minister of State for Surface Transport, R.P.N. Singh, being stopped from inspecting a bridge in Rae Bareli, the parliamentary constituency of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, was taken up by Congress MP Jagdambika Pal as soon as the House assembled for the day.
Deputy Speaker Karia Munda, who was in the Chair, asked the unrelenting MPs to raise the matter during zero hour. The SP members, led by Shailendra Kumar, trooped into the well demanding that they be allowed to raise the matter during question hour. When some Congress members, including Jagdambika Pal and Panna Lal Punia, tried to make their way to the well, they were sent back by Leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee.
Mr. Singh was stopped by the police at Munshiganj while on his way to inspect a bridge connecting Rae Bareli and Fatehpur district. The bridge was reportedly scheduled to be inaugurated by Congress president Sonia Gandhi in the second week of March and the State government had been informed about it. However, Uttar Pradesh PWD Minister Naseemuddin Siddiqui hurriedly inaugurated the bridge at a function on Wednesday while Mr. Singh was on his way to inspect it.
Describing the Union Minister's detention as unlawful, Mr. Pal said it amounted to violation of privileges of MPs. As he raised the issue, the BSP members were on their feet, objecting to his remarks. This led to a verbal duel between the BSP and Congress members.
On the detention of senior Samajwadi Party workers in Bareilly while participating in a religious procession, the BSP MPs claimed that ban orders under Section 144 had been imposed in the area from where the procession was taken out.
The issue spilled over to the post-lunch session for a while before the discussion on the Motion of Thanks to the President's Address was taken up.