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UPSC exam row, comment on migrants rock Parliament

Issues related to Uttar Pradesh and Bihar — the two states facing assembly bypolls — kept political parties occupied in Parliament on Friday.

The row over the demand for amending the content of the civil services exam disrupted House proceedings, with an MP from Bihar tearing some papers and throwing them  towards Speaker Sumitra Mahajan. The entire Opposition staged a walkout in the Rajya Sabha asking the government to spell out a timeline to resolve the issue.

The ruling BJP also had to face embarrassment on account of an MP who during a discussion on Delhi Budget had suggested in Rajya Sabha on Thursday that migrants were a drain on the city’s resources. A day later, Hindi heartland parties like the SP, JD(U), as also the Congress, raked up BJP MP Vijay Goel’s comments.

Goel, a Delhi-based BJP leader but currently in political doghouse, had said on Thursday how six lakh migrants, mostly from UP and Bihar, arrived in Delhi annually and were a “burden” on city’s resources. He had asked the Centre to take a policy decision that would stop these people from migrating to Delhi. Goel suggested that prestigious Delhi-based colleges be allowed to open franchisee branches in UP and Bihar to stem the flow of students from these two states to Delhi.

Congress’s Rajiv Shukla likened Goel to Maharashtra Navanirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray, whose party has in the past attacked taxi drivers and traders from Bihar and UP working in Mumbai.

BJP distanced itself from Goel’s comment.

In Parliament, Opposition members created uproar over the issue of UPSC exam, leading to adjournments. Home Minister Rajnath Singh told the Rajya Sabha the government was studying all aspects of the issue and wants to resolve it at the earliest. The Opposition was not satisfied and staged a walkout.

In the Lok Sabha, Rashtriya Janata Dal MP Rajesh Ranjan made his way into the Well of the House, tore a newspaper and flung it towards the Speaker. Some bits of paper fell on the Speaker’s table. The Speaker later upbraided Ranjan, who apologised for his conduct.

MPs also pointed that the seven days’ time the government had sought to resolve the issue had expired. Minister of State Jitendra Singh said the government had received a report on the issue on Friday, and needed four-five days more to look into it. The members also protested against the treatment that Delhi Police meted out to students demanding a change in the exam pattern. CPM’s Sitaram Yechury demanded FIRs lodged against the students be withdrawn.

The Opposition’s attempt to corner the government on the issue that has evoked strong reaction in UP and Bihar can be seen in the backdrop of the two states facing assembly by-elections in the coming months. As many as 10 assembly seats of Bihar go to by-polls on August 21. Uttar Pradesh’s 12 assembly seats will have by-polls by end of the year.

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