Faced with deterioration in the law and order and crime situation in Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said on Thursday that the issue was a top priority for the Government and impartial action had been taken against the culprits. He, however, maintained that some incidents had been exaggerated.

Speaking immediately after the presentation of the Home Department budget (tabled by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mohammad Azam Khan) in the Vidhan Sabha on Thursday, Mr. Yadav, who holds the Home portfolio, said there is only the Police Department for maintenance of law and order. When an incident occurs, it is highlighted by the BSP, BJP, Congress, Rashtriya Lok Dal and sundry other small parties as well as by the media. He said the number of newspapers and TV channels is more than the number of political parties. “The Government is alone,” he said and added: “But no mention of the action taken is made.”

Taking pot-shots at the BSP, Mr. Yadav said when the previous government was in office, there were no House sessions. “The number of House sittings under the present regime uptill now is almost equal to the number of sittings in the five years (of the previous government),” he remarked.

Mr. Yadav said earlier speaking was strictly barred (“bolne ki azaadi nahin thhi”) , but, at least “now the issues can be debated”. He assured the Opposition members that their suggestions would be considered.

He said stern directives have been given to the police for taking immediate action. The policemen have been warned of strict action in the event of slackness showed by them, he said

About the steps taken to tone up law and order and the measures taken in the budget, Mr Yadav mentioned the women’s power line ‘1090’ and said positive results have been achieved.

He said CCTV cameras would be installed at 70 crossings in Lucknow on a pilot basis and the police offices and thanas will be equipped with CCTNS (crime and criminal tracking network system) with the facility of online FIR. The CCTNS will be taken up as a pilot project in Lucknow and Ghazipur. He said more cyber crime units will be set up in addition to those in Lucknow and Agra.

Moving a cut motion, Leader of Opposition Swamy Prasad Maurya slammed the Government and said that it has failed on all fronts. Describing the Chief Minister as “Mr. Laptop” (after the laptop distribution scheme), Mr. Maurya said law and order had collapsed and ‘jungle raj’ prevailed in the State. He alleged that Mr Yadav was not given a free hand as there were many “shadow CMs”

Mr. Maurya said anti-social elements, criminals and mafia were flouting the law with impunity and “there is a possibility of the Chief Minister’s directives being ignored by the officials”. He said the number of communal violence in the last one year was a new high. The function of the government and the administration had been paralysed, he said, adding that the government has lost its control over officials.

The budget session of the UP Legislature will end on Friday.