Kumbh shadow looms over Assembly

Budget Session begins today BJP to boycott governor address, BSP to demand judicial probe.

The death of 36 Kumbh pilgrims in the stampede at the Allahabad railway station on Sunday is likely to cast its shadow when Governor B L Joshi addresses the joint sitting of both Houses of UP legislature on the first day of the budget session on Thursday.

While the BJP announced that it will boycott the Governor's address in protest against the lapses on the part of the state government which led to the tragedy, the main opposition Bahujan Samaj Party said it will raise the issue inside the house to demand a judicial inquiry.

Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Swami Prasad Maurya said the lack of coordination between the Centre and the state government resulted in the stampede.

"Both knew that a large number of people will arrive at Kumbh that day, but they did not make preparations accordingly," said Maurya.

Hukum Singh, leader of BJP in the Assembly, said the inquiry ordered under the Revenue Board chairman had no meaning because the state government had already given a clean chit to its officers. "Obviously, the governor's speech, which has been prepared by the SP government, will also praise the officers," he said.

On Wednesday, Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey invited leaders of all political parties for a meeting and requested for their support for smooth conduct of the House.

Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, Swami Prasad Maurya, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Azam Khan, Revenue Minister Ambika Choudhary, Swami Prasad Maurya, Hukum Singh, Congress Legislature Party leader Pradeep Mathur and Dalbeer Singh of the Rashtriya Lok Dal were present.

Earlier in the day, the chief minister invited leaders of all political parties at his official residence for tea and requested for their cooperation during the session.

Barring the main opposition BSP, all political parties attended the meeting.

"When we are aware that issues raised by us will not be addressed by the chief minister, there is no point in having tea at his residence," said Maurya. On Thursday, the governor's address is the only business on the agenda. Akhilesh Yadav will present the annual budget for 2013-14 on February 19.

In between, the Assembly will not meet from February 15 to 17. However, it will meet on February 18 for passing a condolence resolution over the death of Samajwadi Party MLA Mahesh Narain Singh.

The Business Advisory Committee will meet on February 19 to decide the further programme of the session, which is scheduled to continue until March 22.

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