Akhilesh Yadav braces for showdown in UP assembly

Lucknow, Sep 16 (IANS) The opposition will demand answers from the Akhilesh Yadav government to a host of issues, including the Muzaffarnagar riots, when the monsoon session of the Uttar Pradesh state assembly begins Monday, said leaders of several parties.

With issues including the arrest of a Samajwadi Party legislator in Goa with prostitutes in a hotel, the grim power scenario, illegal mining, suspension of IAS official Durga Shakti Nagpal and communal riots in Muzaffarnagar, the opposition is breathing fire and the government has been pushed on the defensive.

Insiders in the ruling party admit that the scenario was "grim and indefensible" for the 18-month-old government, hit by poor law and order.

Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) leader Dalbeer Singh said the party will seek answers on the complete failure of the government in allowing the communal situation in the western parts of the state to spin out of control.

"What was the government doing? Where were its intelligence agencies? Was discontent brewing among locals?" asked leader of opposition in the state assembly Swamy Prasad Maurya.

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader said his party would repeat its demand for imposition of president's rule in the state.

"We have been saying this all through. Our leader Mayawati had predicted long back that the people of the state would regret voting for the Samajwadi Party. Sadly in the process, precious lives are being lost and the state is being defamed," Maurya told IANS.

Pradeep Mathur, leader of the Congress legislature party, said his party was in no mood to spare the Samajwadi Party.

"How can we be silent on the bloodbath and mayhem this government has allowed to take place in Muzaffarnagar. The riots are unpardonable and someone will have to own up to the responsibility," he said.

The Congress has also dropped hints of the tough stand the party would take during the assembly session.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also said the state government will be forced to explain its failure.

Angry at BJP leaders being "implicated" in the Muzaffarnagar riots that left 48 people dead, the party will ask the state government on what basis were they being singled out, said Radha Mohan Das, the party chief whip in the assembly.

Usually combative on the floor of the House, the Samajwadi Party crisis managers have realised that this time they have limited options to mute the opposition.

"The party has discussed the near-certain possibility of an all-out attack by the opposition during the monsoon session. We will try to have a healthy debate on the issues they raise," said a senior Samajwadi Party leader.

Samajwadi Party leaders also fear for the anger of state Parliamentary Affairs Minister Azam Khan, who has criticised the government over mishandling the Muzaffarnagar riots.

Azam Khan, who has often salvaged the situation for the government in the past, did not attend the party's all-important "business advisory committee" meeting Sunday.

State Public Works Department Minister Shivpal Yadav, however, played down Khan's absence and said the minister would be present in the assembly Monday.