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Uproar in Assembly over mobile phones

Thursday 5 July 2007

Special Correspondent

Samajwadi Party, BJP accuse the BSP of flouting the rules

Speaker Sukhdev Rajbhar pulls up, threatens BSP MLAs for using mobile phones

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Lalji Verma also condemns videography

LUCKNOW: Videography by mobile phones by a couple of Bahujan Samaj Party MLAs in the Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha on Wednesday created a furore in the House. The Samajwadi Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party accused the ruling party of flouting the rules.

The Speaker, Sukhdev Rajbhar, pulled up the MLAs for violating his directives banning them from carrying mobile phones in the House. Taking a strong view of the episode, he warned the members that in future their mobiles phones would be impounded.

When the Budget session began on June 27, the Speaker had strictly prohibited the MLAs, as well as the Press persons covering the proceedings, from carrying cell phones. Mr. Rajbhar said incoming calls hindered the proceedings. What irked him was that his directives were flouted by the ruling party.

The incident occurred when the Samajwadi Party MLAs were in the well of the House in protest against the Speaker disallowing a debate on black marketing of kerosene in the State during Zero Hour. The issue was brought to the attention of Mr. Rajbhar by Samajwadi Party deputy leader Mohammed Azam Khan. Mr. Khan protested to the Speaker that some BSP MLAs had used their cell phones to click the SP MLAs, who were protesting in the well.

When the SP members returned to their seats following the intervention of the Leader of the Opposition, Mulayam Singh, and BJP leader Om Prakash Singh, the Speaker’s attention was drawn towards videography by BSP MLAs. The Speaker condemned the incident in strong words and expressed his anguish that his directives had been flouted.

Mr. Rajbhar was joined by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Lalji Verma, who also condemned the act. He assured the Opposition members that there would be no second take of the incident.

Lauding the Speaker for his ruling, the BJP Legislature Party leader wanted the Chair to identify the MLAs. Mr. Singh further asked the Speaker what would happen to the film. Mr. Rajbhar replied that the cell phones had been seized and the film would not be developed.

See online : The Hindu

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