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Uttar Pradesh Control of Organised Crime Bill: Opposition gets a chance to test unity

Within minutes of the bill being tabled in the UP assembly, the main opposition parties quickly but separately voiced their objection to the move - a process that could take a more structured shape against the BJP government if ‘unity efforts’ succeed.

lucknow Updated: Dec 21, 2017 17:36 IST
Manish Chandra Pandey
Manish Chandra Pandey
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Uttar Pradesh Control of Organised Crime Bill,UCOCB,Opposition
Congress legislature party leader Ajay Singh alias Lallu confirmed that his party was in touch with other parties to oppose the “draconian law”.(HT Photo)

The opposition parties in Uttar Pradesh are in talks to unite against the Bharatiya Janata Party government in opposing the Uttar Pradesh Control of Organised Crime Bill (UPCOCB) moved by the chief minister Yogi Adityanath in the state assembly on Wednesday.

Within minutes of the bill being tabled in the UP assembly, the main opposition parties quickly but separately voiced their objection to the move - a process that could take a more structured shape against the BJP government if ‘unity efforts’ succeed.

Congress legislature party leader Ajay Singh alias Lallu confirmed that his party was in touch with other parties to oppose the “draconian law”.

Efforts to build a consensus against the BJP are important amid the buzz that the prospect of putting up a common candidate against the BJP in the by-polls to Gorakhpur and Phoolpur Lok Sabha seats vacated by Yogi and deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya were still bright.

“We are contacting leaders of other parties as there is a common feeling that the proposed law would be used to muzzle dissent, including one by the media. Naturally, as watchdogs of the democracy we intend to expose the BJP’s intentions,” the Congress leader told HT.

The Samajwadi Party (SP), which had allied with the Congress in the 2017 UP polls, has already indicated its opposition to the BJP move with SP chief Akhilesh Yadav tweeting that the proposed law was ‘dhokha’ (deceit). Yadav is believed to be in touch with new Congress chief Rahul Gandhi.

“Those who described a powder meant for cleaning furniture as powerful PETN explosive are experts in misleading the people,” Yadav said while even SP’s arch rival - the Bahujan Samaj Party that had in 2007 attempted a similar law – also opposed Yogi government’s move.

BSP sources cite the BJP’s opposition to BSP mayors in Meerut and Aligarh and the FIR against a BSP lawmaker in Aligarh for taking oath in Urdu as proof of what they call the BJP’s “sinister plan throttle opposition voice.”

But the BJP, high on its phenomenal successful run under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s stewardship, doesn’t seem unduly bothered about the opposition plan.

“The SP, BSP’s opposition indicates that they want to stall all moves to end organised crime and mafia,” said UP BJP leader Chandramohan.

With 325 lawmakers in the lower house of the UP assembly, the BJP would hardly have any problem in getting it passed. Even in the Vidhan Parishad, where the BJP’s 13 MLCs are in a minority against Samajwadi Party’s 61, the opposition could at best stall the passage of the bill by just four months.

Technicality apart, the BJP is confident that the opposition’s stand against the bill would “expose” them further. “We would definitely go to the people talking of opposition efforts to derail a proposed law that is against organised crime. Instead of cooperating with us, they are playing politics. People will teach them a lesson for this unpardonable sin,” says Chandramohan.

First Published: Dec 21, 2017 17:36 IST