SP back to protesting in Parliament

SP back to protesting in Parliament

Just a day after the Samajwadi Party (SP) appeared to break ranks with the Opposition in Parliament and distance itself from the Congress, its Lok Sabha members on Tuesday joined agitating Congress members in the Well and raised slogans. However, their demands were different.

The Congress and Left party MPs continued to stall Lok Sabha proceedings, demanding Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan's resignation for his purported involvement in a recruitment scam.  The SP lawmakers joined them in the Well, but sought to keep their agitation distinct with placards that read: “Make Public Caste Census Data”, “Stop Discrimination against Backward Castes” and “Ensure Justice to Backward Castes”. In an all-party meeting convened on Monday by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to end the logjam in Parliament, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav had said his party would no longer support the Congress if the latter continued to stall proceedings.

His warning came after the first two weeks of Parliament's Monsoon session saw very little work in the Lok Sabha, as Congress and Left party MPs disrupted the proceedings demanding resignations of not only Chouhan, but also External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje for their purported role in helping tainted IPL ex-chief Lalit Modi procure travel documents from the British government. The SP was with the Congress and the Left parties throughout the two weeks. Yadav and his MPs were also protested against 25 Congress members' suspension from the Lok Sabha last week. So, Yadav’s warning on Monday stunned the Congress, while the ruling BJP was happy with the indication of his willingness to break ranks with the Opposition.

However, on Tuesday, the SP's Dharmendra Yadav and Akshay Yadav followed Congress and Left party MPs into the Well of the House to protest.

Jai Prakash Narain Yadav and other Rashtriya Janata Dal MPs joined them, raising slogans on the caste-census data.

Yadav sat on the front row near Congress president Sonia Gandhi. After Question Hour ended and papers were laid, Mahajan allowed Yadav to speak on his party’s demands.

He first requested the Speaker to restore order in the House, and later made a brief statement demanding implementation of reservation policies in accordance with the caste-census data.

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