First session of U.P. Assembly starts amidst ruckus, paper balls

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The first sitting of the 17th Uttar Pradesh Assembly witnessed unruly scenes and pandemonium on Monday with the Opposition disrupting proceedings and throwing paper missiles at Governor Ram Naik.

Samajwadi members, whose numbers had been enhanced because of the joint session of the state legislative, threw paper balls at Governor Ram Naik, all throughout his 35-minute address to the state legislature.

The government too is arming itself with all the relevant data to hit back at the opposition, which has only 74 MLAs against the BJP and its allies' massive strength of 325 in the 403-member House.

In his address, the governor indirectly blamed the previous governments for the prevailing state of affairs in Uttar Pradesh and lauded the Yogi Adityanath dispensation for its resolve to transform it into a frontline state. Opposition leaders were protesting against the law and order situation in the state.

The session has been convened especially for introduction and passage of the GST Bill with the Narendra Modi-led Central government keen on rolling out the indirect tax regime from July 1. Yogi Adityanath was present in the house at the time. "We hope the ruling party likes it".

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SP legislators also sought to corner the government on law and order issue. The towels kept on his chairs are saffron and even the upholstery in his home and office are taking on shades of saffron.

On May 2, the Uttar Pradesh Cabinet had approved a draft bill for implementation of the GST in the state. Asked about the allegation that he was being partisan in refusing to take note of the Opposition's charges on the law and order issue while having been vocal on the issue in the past, Naik said "as far as I have been able to observe, the current government has the resolve to tackle law and order problems with a firm hand".

The Treasury benches were pacified after the Congress member said he was withdrawing his words.

In the Legislative Council, where SP has 66 members, former minister Ahmed Hasan will be the Leader of the Opposition.

It will also be interesting to watch whether Akhilesh attends the session - he is a member of the Upper House but had rarely attended proceedings when he was the Chief Minister. This however did not prove to be a deterrent to the 83-year-old Governor who stood his ground and read out the 84-page speech in full.

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