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Updated: March 10, 2010 11:11 IST

Lalu withdraws support to UPA government

K. Balchand
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SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav looks on as RJD chief Lalu Prasad talks to the media against the Women's Bill, outside Parliament on Tuesday. Mr. Prasad said he would hand over to the President a letter withdrawing support to the UPA Government.
AP SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav looks on as RJD chief Lalu Prasad talks to the media against the Women's Bill, outside Parliament on Tuesday. Mr. Prasad said he would hand over to the President a letter withdrawing support to the UPA Government.

Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad on Tuesday announced his decision to formally withdraw support to the government, protesting against the adoption of the Women's Reservation Bill in the Rajya Sabha.

Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh, who too had threatened to do so, however, was evasive on the issue. When journalists persisted with their questions, he said he would inform the media when he took a decision in this regard.

Mr. Prasad said he would call on President Pratibha Patil and submit his letter to her on Wednesday.

The RJD has four members in the Lok Sabha and had extended outside support to the UPA government.

Reacting to the suspension of seven members in the Rajya Sabha and the adoption of the Bill, the RJD chief and his SP counterpart charged that those evicted included four Muslim MPs.

The RJD and the SP chief, along with JD(U) president Sharad Yadav, told journalists that they met the Prime Minister earlier in the day but did not accept his suggestion that they allow the passage of the Bill in the Rajya Sabha and that their concerns would be addressed when the Bill is taken up for consideration in the Lok Sabha.

“Democracy stifled”

They charged that the Bill was taken up for discussion all of a sudden even without taking the allies into confidence. They alleged that democracy was being stifled, with the Rajya Sabha being turned into a fortress and paramilitary personnel posted as marshals.

The leaders said several Muslim delegations called on them, expressing their concern over the Bill as it denied them their due.

These leaders held a series of talks with Railway Minister and Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee, who too had underlined her opposition to the Bill.

Mr. Sharad Yadav is said to have mooted the idea of sponsoring a no-confidence motion against the government and reportedly Mr. Prasad and Mr. Singh seemed to agree with him on the issue.

But the fact remains that the split in the JD(U) over the issue came to the fore, with five members voting in favour of the Bill in the Rajya Sabha, and Mr. Yadav and his supporters openly opposing it in the Lok Sabha.

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It must be a sorry tale when demogogues become the avatars of democracy. Democracy according to this new definition is that a handful of MPs should violently disrupt the proceedings to stop a bill being discussed and put to vote. A precious day in the Parliament was lost and when the scene was repeated the next day, the Chairman had no recourse other than having the violent MPs, numbering only seven, thrown out of the House, and put the bill, after a proper discussion, to vote. Only one MP present opposed the bill but 187 others supported it. It passes anybody's understanding as to what Laluji with a total number of four MPs means by democracy. Are street smart actions within Parliament, appeal to communal and caste sentiments, with dangerous consequences for the Indian democracy going to replace debate, discussion and vote in the Parliament?

from:  kalyan chatterjee
Posted on: Mar 11, 2010 at 10:31 IST
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