Debating India

Countdown for U.P. polls begins

Saturday 16 December 2006

Dates of High School and Intermediate board examinations advanced

LUCKNOW: The countdown for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections due early next year began here on Friday with the 14th Vidhan Sabha ending its sitting when the House was adjourned for an indefinite period. The Assembly had been in session since July but the sittings were staggered.

A resolution to this effect moved by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mohammed Azam Khan was passed unanimously by the House. Though the House was constituted on February 22, 2002, its first sitting was held on May 14, 2002.

The possibility of the elections being held in April-May 2007 gained ground on Thursday when in a sudden move the State Government advanced the dates of High School and Intermediate board examinations. Earlier the exams were due to be held from March 17 to April 27, but they will now begin on March 12 and end on April 12. Besides, the Election Commission had simultaneously appointed an additional chief electoral officer for U.P.

Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav who earlier presented the Interim Budget for 2007-08 and Vote- on-Account for the first four months of 2007-08 fiscal - that is, April, May, June and July 2007 — said that Friday was the last session of the 14th Vidhan Sabha before next year’s elections and added that the poll dates would be announced by the Election Commission. The Chief Minister said making a career in different fields was relatively easy than sustaining the standards of political probity as after "every five years we have to go to the people’s court for seeking a new lease of life".

Stating that the image of politicians had taken a beating, Mr. Yadav cautioned the MLAs that most often politicians were at the receiving end of allegations levelled by their political adversaries. For his part, the Chief Minister said that in the three years of Samajwadi rule in the State he had fulfilled the responsibility of strengthening the democratic institutions.

In what appeared a parting speech before next year’s battle of the ballot, Mr. Yadav thanked the Speaker, Mata Prasad Pandey, Deputy Speaker, Rajesh Agarwal, Leader of the Opposition, Lalji Tandon, and the leaders of the Bahjan Samaj Party, the Congress, the CPI (M) and Rashtriya Lok Dal for their "cooperation". He said he was reminded of the good old days of Chief Ministers Gobind Ballabh Pant, Sampurnanand and Chaudhary Charan Singh.

Pramod Tiwari of the Congress wanted a day’s special session to enable the members to bid adieu in a formal manner, but his request was ignored by the Speaker.

Presenting the Vote-on-Account of Rs. 31,521 crores, and the Interim Budget for 2007-08, the Chief Minister said this was an interim financial arrangement as the Vidhan Sabha elections were due in the near future. According to parliamentary conventions, he said, the complete Budget would be presented in the House by the new government.

The Interim Budget and Vote-on-Account were passed by voice vote. Mr. Yadav urged the Speaker that the passage of the financial statements be taken as a vote of confidence in his government. His proposal was accepted by Mr. Pandey.

See online : The Hindu

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