Maintain Silence in the Parliament? Not According to Mayawati

BSP chief Mayawati walks out from the Rajya Sabha on July 18 claiming she wasn’t being allowed to speak in the Parliament

Nine months still remaining in her tenure, Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) chief Mayawati on Tuesday resigned her Rajya Sabha membership, alleging she was not being allowed to raise Dalit issues in the House. Since the ruckus in the Upper House leading to Ms Mayawati's storming out, Akhilesh Yadav's SP and the Congress have indicated support for her. Mayawati announced her decision with a flourish when asked by Rajya Sabha deputy chairman P J Kurien to cut short a speech during zero hour on the alleged targeting of Dalits in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh.

"I simply wanted the Rajya Sabha Chair to pay attention to atrocities against the less fortunate sections of the society, especially Dalits".

"Since the time the BJP has come to power, there has been exploitation of the Dalits, poor, minority, and backward castes", she said. Members of the upper house of parliament are elected by legislators of the state they represent. She also is well aware of the fact that she can not be elected to the RS owing to poor numbers following a humiliating defeat in the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections. The format states that the resignation letter should be brief and should not mention the reasons.

After the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister walked out, the Opposition raised slogans and forced an adjournment of proceedings. While Agarwal said, "Goa CM Manohar Parrikar's statement is like muh mein Ram bagal mein churi", while referring to the Central government's stand on the lynching incidents, Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, "Mungerilal ke haseen sapne" (both leaders cited famous Hindi proverbs).

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The BSP chief's critics allege that the veteran Parliamentarian would be well aware that her resignation would not be accepted, accusing her of political drama to demonstrate to Dalits, her core vote base, that she remains their foremost champion after successive defeats in elections.

Kurien rose from his seat in an attempt to calm her down but Mayawati refused to agree saying she has no right to be in the House if she can not protect the rights of her community. "We did not know the BJP has got the mandate to massacre minorities and Dalits", Azad, a Congress leader, said amid interruptions by the treasury benches.

She said that BSP leaders were not even allowed to visit the affected families. In the morning, the chairman allowed every Opposition member to raise issues.

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