LUCKNOW: Accusing the ruling BJP of attempting to divert attention from the various problems plaguing Uttar Pradesh by going in for election for the post of deputy speaker, the Congress on Monday decided to boycott the poll.

Congress workers also sat in front of the state assembly carrying placards demanding justice for farmers who died in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence on October 3.

The party also alleged that both the BJP and SP were involved in a friendly fight and were keen on the election and not on discussing the various raging issues facing the state.

“Neither the BJP nor the Samajwadi Party want to ensure justice for farmers killed in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence or to discuss this important issue. They are into a ‘noora kushti’ (friendly fight) and so we are boycotting the deputy speaker’s election and sitting on a dharna,” UPCC president Ajay Kumar Lallu said.

The election to the post of deputy speaker, just months away from the assembly elections, is aimed only at misleading the people and also an effort to divert attention from the Lakhimpur Kheri incident, he charged.

The Congress will continue this fight till Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra is dismissed, he said, adding we are sitting on a dharna on these issues.

The election for the post of deputy speaker is slated for later in the day.

Nitin Agarwal, who was elected as a legislator on the Samajwadi Party ticket but then cozied up to the ruling BJP, is all set to be the deputy speaker of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly with the support of the saffron party.

A miffed Samajwadi Party, which has fielded Narendra Verma as its official candidate for the contest, had on Sunday hit out at the BJP, accusing it of trying to sabotage democracy, and asserted that the post should traditionally go to the opposition party.

After the election on Monday, Uttar Pradesh will get its first Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly after a gap of over 14 years.

In the 2017 assembly polls, the BJP had won 304 seats in the 403-member UP Legislative Assembly and its majority in the House will ensure Agarwal’s victory.

Slamming the state government for the Lakhimpur violence, Lallu said the farmers are yet to get justice.

“The people of Uttar Pradesh are seeing for themselves as to how the farmers were killed and they did not get justice. The minister has not yet been dismissed. While the son was arrested, the father continues to hold his position. What kind of justice is this. Will the official who goes there for investigating the matter salute the minister or ensure fair probe,” Lallu asked.

Four of the eight people who died in the violence in Lakhimpur Kheri on October 3 were farmers, allegedly knocked down by a vehicle carrying BJP workers.

Angry farmers then allegedly lynched some people in the vehicles.

The other dead included two BJP workers and their driver.

Farmers have claimed that Ashish Mishra, the son of Union Minister of State for Home, was in one of the vehicles, an allegation denied by him and the minister who say they can produce evidence to prove he was at an event at that time.

Ashish Mishra was arrested in the case on October 9.

The Congress leader also said that there has been no statement on the three new agri laws by the government and no need is being felt for debate on cane, paddy price or the problem of stray cattle which has become a menace for the farmer.

However, both the BJP and Samajwadi Party are looking keen on the election of the deputy speaker and are getting nomination papers filed, he said.

The farmers and jawans of the country are today “unhappy” but the government has no time for them, he said, charging that the SP also does not want to raise these issues.


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