The Bahujan Samaj Party will boycott the president's address to the joint sitting of both Houses over the Centre's stand on the farmers' demand to repeal the new agri laws and its "dilly-dallying" approach on matters of public interest, the party's chief Mayawati said on Friday.
She made the announcement just hours before President Ram Nath Kovind's address to the joint sitting of both Houses, making BSP the 19th party to announce a boycott of the address.
A day before the start of the Budget session of Parliament, as many as 18 opposition parties, led by the Congress, the NCP, the Shiv Sena and the TMC, had decided on Thursday to boycott the president's address in solidarity with the farmers protesting against the new farm laws.
"In protest over (the Centre) not accepting the farmers' demand of repealing the three controversial agri laws and adopting a dilly-dallying approach in matters of public interest, the BSP has decided to boycott the president's address in Parliament," Mayawati said in a tweet in Hindi.
"Also, I request the Centre to take back the farm laws and normalise the situation in Delhi. Innocent farmers should not be made a scapegoat in the the wake of the violence on Republic Day. There is a lot of truth in the objection of BKU and other leaders from UP in this matter," she said.
While 16 opposition parties issued a joint statement announcing their decision to boycott the president's address, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had also separately announced their decision to boycott the address.
The parties that jointly announced that they will boycott the president's address were the Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party, the National Conference, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the Trinamool Congress, the Shiv Sena, the Samajwadi Party, the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the CPI, the Indian Union Muslim League, the RSP, the People's Democratic Party, the MDMK, the Kerala Congress (M) and the All India United Democratic Front.