| Children play with Samajwadi Party flags at a dharna against Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayavati at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. (PTI)
New Delhi, April 21: Leaders in the Lok Sabha today set aside political differences to call for a political code of conduct for chief ministers over Mayavati’s barrage of cases against Samajwadi Party leaders in Uttar Pradesh.
Participating in a brief discussion in the House on the intensifying Uttar Pradesh confrontation, floor leaders of several parties today urged Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to call a meeting of political leaders to consider a code of conduct.
The matter came up after Samajwadi members moved adjournment notices, seeking a discussion on the Mayavati government’s move to file FIRs against party leaders, including Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh. The party members said the cases constituted an act of political vendetta and posed a grave danger to democracy.
Speaker Manohar Joshi then allowed the discussion on the notices, which ultimately took up almost the whole of question hour. He, however, disallowed the notice at the end of the discussion, saying it was for the Prime Minister to take a decision on convening a meeting of all party leaders to discuss the conduct code.
Leaders of almost all Opposition parties and two NDA partners, the Shiv Sena and the Samata Party, supported Samajwadi member Ramji Lal Suman’s contention that the Uttar Pradesh FIRs, with an implicit threat to arrest his party leaders, were provoked by the government’s vindictive attitude which posed a threat to democracy.
CPM leader Somnath Chatterjee expressed concern over Mayavati’s action. “The situation calls for a code of conduct for chief ministers. This politics of revenge should be stopped.”
Congress chief whip Priya Ranjan Das Munshi said the developments in Uttar Pradesh over the last few weeks posed a danger to the entire political system.
Mayavati’s slew of cases was also targeting a former Governor, he said. Das Munshi was referring to the chief minister’s threat to order an inquiry against Congress treasurer Motilal Vora, who was the Uttar Pradesh Governor. What is happening in the state is a shame, he said.
The BJP, the Bahujan Samaj Party’s ally in Uttar Pradesh, made no attempt to defend Mayavati. Instead, it supported the idea of the conduct code.
BJP leader V.K. Malhotra said the proposal for a code of conduct merited consideration as several political parties, in power in the states, showed a tendency to settle political scores by probing the records of rival parties while they were in power.
He took the opportunity to allege that the Amarinder Singh-led Congress government in Punjab was indulging in politics of vendetta against Akali leaders.
Trinamul Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, too, disapproved of the Mayavati government’s moves in Uttar Pradesh. She, however, also criticised the CPM for adopting double standards.
The CPM government in Bengal was indulging in political vendetta while condemning the same in Uttar Pradesh, Mamata said.
Trinamul members, she alleged, were not allowed by CPM cadres to file nomination papers for next month’s panchayat polls in the state.