Special Correspondent

Protest against government refusal to restore pension for Emergency detenus

Samajwadi government had introduced the pension scheme in 2006

The scheme was influenced by political considerations:Minister

LUCKNOW: The Leader of the Opposition, Mulayam Singh, on Monday led a Samajwadi Party walkout from the Uttar Pradesh Assembly on the Bahujan Samaj Party government’s refusal to restore pension for Emergency detenus. The pension scheme was introduced by the Samajwadi government led by Mr. Mulayam Singh in 2006.

Raising the issue at the commencement of Zero Hour, Ambika Chaudhary of the Samajwadi Party drew the attention of the Chair to the dharna staged by Emergency detenus opposite the Vidhan Bhavan complex on Monday. The member said the “loktantra senanis” (Emergency detenus) faced several hardships during the Emergency and in view of their contribution towards restoration of democracy, the former Chief Minister, Mulayam Singh, had announced a monthly pension for them.

The Leader of the Opposition said even the family members of the “loktantra senanis” were made to suffer during the Emergency. He urged Speaker Sukhdev Rajbhar to revive their pension. The matter was above party lines, he added.

Om Prakash Singh (BJP) also supported the cause of Emergency detenus and said the government should restore their pension.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Lalji Verma rejected the demand and asked the BJP member why the scheme was not launched when his party was in power. He said the scheme was influenced by political considerations and, reading from the rules framed by the previous regime, stated that the scheme launched on April 1, 2006, continued only till March 31, 2007.

Mr. Singh assailed the government’s stand and said it had no faith in democracy before leading the SP walkout.

Meanwhile, taking note of the demand for monthly pension forwidows of MLAs, the Speaker has convened an all-party meeting to discuss the modalities. The issue was raised during Question Hour by Samajwadi Party MLA Arif Anwar Hashmi. He was supported by Radha Mohan Das Agarwal (BJP) and Pramod Tiwari (Congress).

While Mr. Agarwal cited the pathetic state of the dependents of a former Socialist Party MLA, Ramapati, who died in penury, Mr. Tiwari said a spouse pension should be introduced, which would entitle even the widowers to a monthly pension.

Mr. Rajbhar reserved his verdict on the members’ demand that the dates for election of the Deputy Speaker be announced soon. The issue figured during the Zero Hour through a notice moved by Pramod Tiwari (Congress).