The first session of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly since the elections earlier this year began on a stormy note on Monday, May 15, with leaders in the Opposition creating a ruckus, blowing whistles and even targeting Governor Ram Naik with balled-up paper. They were protesting against the law-and-order situation in the state, in what can be construed as an effort to corner first-time Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
The ruckus started as soon as the governor got on the podium to deliver his customary beginning-of-the-session address in a joint sitting of both Houses of the UP legislature. MLAs from the Samajwadi Party (SP) and other political outfits took to shouting and blowing whistles, disrupting the address. Some of them even took to balling up papers and throwing it at the governor, as marshals present in the House swatted them away or shielded the governor with files.
The ruckus continued despite repeated attempts by Assembly Speaker Hridaya Narain Dixit to control the unruly Opposition MLAs. At one point, Naik even pointed out to the protesting MLAs: "Sara Uttar Pradesh dekh raha hai aap ko (the whole of UP is watching you)!" However, that did little to deter the protesting SP MLAs, who had been joined by lawmakers from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Congress.
The Opposition parties have apparently decided to gang up against the ruling BJP over law-and-order issues. Most recently, communal clashes have flared up in Sambhal in northern UP, bringing back memories of the riots that shook Muzaffarnagar in 2013. Cow vigilantism is also said to be on the rise in the state, with one man being lynched by gau rakshaks in Bulandshahr on May 2.
These are just a few of the law-and-order issues the united Opposition parties will look to raise in the Assembly to corner the BJP government. And if such unruly scenes continue, the state government will have a tough time conducting legislative business.
After all, UP is a politically significant state. Winning it often indicates that the party which achieved the feat will also win the Lok Sabha elections. UP has also sent the most number of prime ministers to Parliament, including the current prime minister Narendra Modi, who was elected from the Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency.
Watch the videos of Monday's ruckus here: