It was a day of walkouts in the Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha as the Opposition parties on Thursday boycotted the proceedings of the House on issues related to potato, sports policy and the alleged malpractices by the ruling party in the recent Legislative Council elections. The House was adjourned thrice by the Speaker, Sukhdev Rajbhar as the proceedings were disrupted by the Opposition.

The alleged bungling in the Council elections by the Bahujan Samaj Party Government was raised by the Samajwadi Party, Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Lok Dal when the House assembled for Question Hour. They accused the government of misuse of official machinery and demanded a discussion on the issue. As the din continued the House was adjourned by the Speaker for 30 minutes.

The issue figured again in the Zero Hour following the Speaker’s permission on hearing the Opposition and the government’s views before allowing the motion’s admissibility. Raising the issue, Ambika Chaudhary of the Samajwadi Party alleged that it was on account of the misuse of administrative and police machinery that the ruling party was able to post a landslide win in the recent council polls from local bodies constituencies. He said it was for the first time that close relatives of the ministers were made candidates in the polls, and alleged that the government officials worked as agents of the ruling party from canvassing for the candidates to intimidating the electors.

Om Prakash Singh of the BJP said the ruling party’s victory in the elections exemplified the blatant misuse of money and muscle power. Mr. Singh said the officials worked under pressure. The BJP leader suggested that election rules should be amended to ensure that polls were free and fair and official machinery is nor misused. Hukum Singh of the same party pressed for the constitution of an all-party House panel to probe into the alleged malpractices in the elections.

Pramod Tiwari from Congress said the people were losing faith in the Legislative Council polls, and added that democracy was defeated in the January 7, 2010 Vidhan Parishad elections. He alleged that several BSP winners had a criminal background.

In his reply, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Lalji Verma denied that the official machinery had been misused and maintained that the BSP’s victory was a reiteration of the people’s faith in the accomplishments of the Mayawati Government. He added in last year’s Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha by elections too the BSP was given a clear mandate.

Unsatisfied with the government’s reply, the Congress, BJP and RLD staged a walkout. The SP members entered the well of the House and raised anti-government slogans. As the din continued, Mr. Rajbhar adjourned the House.

During Question Hour, the entire Opposition walked out over the issue of potato price and availability. The SP, BJP, Congress and RLD members expressed their dissatisfaction over the reply of the Agriculture Minister, Laxmi Narain and said the potato growers were not getting a remunerative price of their produce.

The BJP staged a walkout on the issue related to sports. The government’s assurance that a committee for working out the formulation of a sports policy had been constituted under the chief secretary failed to satisfy the BJP MLAs. The parliamentary affairs minister said the government was concerned about the welfare of sportsmen and a policy would be constituted soon.