BJP boycotts Lucknow function, says it is a pre-election stunt
LUCKNOW: After the felicitation of 15 living members of the first Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha (1952-57) last week, it was the turn of 2,236 former MLAs of the House from 1957 to 2002 (the period coinciding with the second Vidhan Sabha to the 13th) to be felicitated by the State Government on Wednesday.
Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav announced several sops for them which included rail travel coupons worth Rs 50,000, cost of treatment in any Government hospital or medical institute to be borne by the Government and 50 per cent concession in the room tariff of VIP Guest House in Dalibagh, Lucknow. The former MLAs would be required to pay Rs.50 as room tariff as compared to the normal rate of Rs.100.
The Chief Minister asked the Vidhan Sabha Speaker, Mata Prasad Pandey, to constitute a House panel to finalise the proposals for setting up a transit hostel for ex-MLAs here besides a hike in their monthly allowance. He also announced a financial aid of Rs.1 lakh for a former MLA belonging to Bahraich district who has been passing his days in penury, selling tea to make two ends meet. Besides, the Chief Minister agreed to finance the treatment of Ram Singh Patel, suffering from a brain tumour, at the Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences here.
The function was boycotted by the Bharatiya Janata Party with the Leader of the Opposition, Lalji Tandon, describing it as a pre-election stunt. Mr. Tandon was present at the felicitation of the 15 MLAs of the first Assembly on August 25.
Paying rich tributes to the former MLAs at the function held in the CMS auditorium on Kanpur Road, the Chief Minister urged them to cooperate in his endeavour to make U.P. a developed State. He said India was destined to become a superpower by 2020 but that would remain a pipedream if U.P. does not progress.
The Chief Minister defended the development of his home village, Saifai, stating that its development had been continuing in phases since 1977. The Speaker sought to dispel the notion that the function had been organised by the Government.
Stating that it had been organised by the Vidhan Sabha Secretariat, Mr. Pandey regretted that some party leaders had stayed away.