'U.P. hour' in the Lok Sabha
NEW DELHI, AUG. 1. The ``zero hour'' in the Lok Sabha today virtually turned into a ``U.P. hour'', with all political parties trying to use the forum to send messages to the electorate back in Uttar Pradesh. Funnily enough, when the Union Home Minister, Mr. L. K. Advani, referred to the context of the looming U.P. elections, the Opposition leaders were quick to protest that their concerns were not at all based on political considerations. Ms. Mayawati of the Bahujan Samaj Party began by describing in vivid detail atrocities committed recently on Dalits in Aligarh and Fatehpur districts of Uttar Pradesh. Shunning her usual shrill style, Ms. Mayawati allowed the facts to speak a tale of police ineffectiveness and collusion in the horrors committed against the Dalits. It was an effective performance, and she was heard in silence.
While the BSP leader was still holding the House's attention, Mr. S. P. Jaiswal, who also happens to be the president of the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee, began demanding attention from the Speaker. After all the Congress had only the other day sent a delegation to Moradabad to inquire into the atrocities against the Muslims.
But even before Mr. Jaiswal could make himself heard - that too despite goading from Mr. Madhavrao Scindia, Deputy Leader of the Congress - the Samajwadi Party chief, Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav, virtually took over the mike. And he would not yield, despite gentle reminders from the Speaker, Mr. G. M. C. Balayogi. Mr. Yadav also had a litany of complaints to make against the State Government and its failure to protect the Dalits, the Muslims, and the backwards. The SP leader thought that at least one-and-a- half dozen U.P. Ministers could be chargesheeted for criminal links.
All this while Mr. Jaiswal was trying to have his say. Only when senior Congress leaders remonstrated with the Speaker that he should allow their MP to speak, did Mr. Balayogi firmly tell Mr. Yadav to wind up. And, then, Mr. Jaiswal gently indicted the State Government.
On his part, Mr. Advani, noted, with a twinkle in his eye, that ``because elections are round the corner in Uttar Pradesh, every one thinks he or she should raise U.P. matters.'' This provoked a number of Opposition leaders to assert the sincerity of their concerns. Mr. Advani's somewhat mischievous observation brought a smile even to the Prime Minister's face.