Yogi deals with voices of dissent from his own partymen

State government faces embarrassing situation on the opening day of winter session of the state Assembly as hundreds of lawmakers including its own staged a dharna in support of BJP legislator Nand Kishore Gujjar, reports Mudit Mathur

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath is heading to face leadership challenges as voices of dissent within his legislatures started unifying publically. The Bharatiya Janata Party government faced most embarrassing situation on the opening day of winter session of the state Assembly when hundreds of lawmakers including its own staged a dharna in support of BJP legislator from Loni (Ghaziabad) Nand Kishore Gujjar, who wanted to raise the issue of his ‘persecution by officials’ in the House, but was denied the opportunity.

The entire opposition including Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Congress, joined hands in support for the legislator’s ‘dignity’and participated in his protest.They raised slogans like “Vidhayak ekta Zindabad (hail MLA unity)” were raised in the well of the house. It took four hours and the intervention of senior UP government ministers and the Speaker himself to end the situation.

“The Samajwadi Party isstaging dharna in support of the BJP legislator. In a state ifa lawmaker is being subjected to humiliation by officials, itshows the quality of governance there,” said Leader of Opposition Ram Govind Chaudhary.

Gujjar, a controversial lawmaker, had earlier alleged that food inspector Ashutosh Singh had misbehaved with him and claimed that the officer wasvery close to the Chief Minister and tried to browbeat him. “Some senior party leaders were behind this drama,” the lawmaker alleged. He wanted to raise theissue in the Assembly on the inaugural day of the winter session after question hour. He tried to raise the issue but the Speaker Hriday Narain Dikshit did not allow him. Even Parliamentary Affairs Minister Suresh Khanna asked him to sit down.

Intervening in the matter the Leader of Opposition said that if a lawmaker wanted to raise the issueinside the House, he should be allowed to do so but Khanna insisted that the party would deal withthe issue at its internal level.

As the opposition lawmakers entered the Well of theHouse insupport of the BJP MLA, the House was adjourned for the day. But majority of the ruling party legislators refused to come out and entered the lobby of Treasury benches and sat on a symbolic dharna. As the word spread, opposition lawmakers also joined them. Two ministers, including Deputy CM Dinesh Sharma, met the agitating legislators and asked them to endthe protest, but they refused tobudge and sought an assurance that the DM and SSP of Ghaziabad would be brought in the House and punished.

The high drama continued all the day after ameeting was called at the Speaker’s chamber where assurance was given to the agitating lawmakers. “We have been assured that the DM and SSP of Ghaziabad would be summoned and prosecuted inside the House,” Gujjar told media in the corridors of Vidhan Sabha. He further said that he got support from the entire House as it as an issue of MLAs. “Many BJP leaderswho too are facing harassment from the officials also joined me in the protest,” he narrated, adding that he would be allowed tospeak on the issue on December 18.

Next day BJP MLA Gujjar alleged that large-scale corruption has become order of the day in Ghaziabad. Officers are taking bribe and their wives are running NGOs. “If corrective measures against bureaucracy have not been taken then government has to face a lot of difficulties,”he added. He demanded fair probe against the NGOs run by the wives of officers and ministers and their assets. He said, “I have no doubts about the honesty of chief minister and have never taken a single rupee as commission but in my city officers are taking 18-20 percent commission in public works. I am shocked that I have been declared criminal by the officers but you all know my city is run by Mafias.”

Later the BJP leadership swung into damage control mode allowing outburst of BJP legislatures to express their grievances in front of chief minister Yogi Adityanath and BJP state’s organisational secretary Sunil Bansal in a small groups. The meeting continued till late night on December 18. Most of the MLAs have echoed similar problems as officers ignore their opinions and recommendations relating to local public issues.

Another MLA Shyam Prakash tweeted, “The MLAs must have their association to protect their existence and rights as right from peon to IAS and Home Gaurds to IPS have their say through their unions. Today MLAs in politics have become a weakest lot.”

The controversy over Gujjar has been raging forover a fortnight. On December1, he was issued a show-cause notice for alleged anti-party statements after a police casewas filed against him for thrashing a government official and his personal secretary wasalso named in that case. Interestingly, as the notice was issued on November 29, Gujjar released a three-page letter written to the ChiefMinister about a threat to hislife and alleged that some corrupt officers and party leaderswere planning to kill him. Gujjar even mentioned about an attack on his life in which hemiraculously escaped. In June 2018, four bike borne persons had fired at the vehicle of Nand Kishore Gujjar in Sahibabad of Ghaziabad. However, security personnel attached with Gujjar retaliated and
rescued him.