The Pushkar Singh Dhami government is set to table the “most-debated” draft bill of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) on the floor of the Uttarakhand assembly on Tuesday morning. Chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said the UCC will pave the way for major reforms.
Congress legislators though sought more time to go through the draft bill. Later, leader of the opposition Yashpal Arya and former Congress state president Pritam Singh resigned from the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) alleging that Question Hour was being curtailed in the name of the “special assembly session” that began on Monday for tabling the UCC bill.
The BAC is headed by the assembly speaker and has members from the BJP, Congress, and BSP. The mandate of the committee is to advise and discuss the business that is to be laid on the floor of the house.
Congress legislators showed a letter claiming they received it from the assembly secretariat on January 25 seeking questions for the Question Hour.
“But now we have been told there would be no Question Hour. Why this rush for UCC?” Arya said.
The furious Congress delegation called on governor Lt Gen (retd) Gurmeet Singh at Raj Bhawan and lodged a complaint.
Amid chaos in the assembly corridors, chief minister Dhami while speaking with reporters said the UCC is aimed at providing “gender equality”.
“UCC is a major step towards providing equal rights to the members of all communities. I request the opposition to play a constructive role by participating in the debate,” the CM said.
The Uniform Civil Code is a key election promise of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. Dhami made this promise when the state went to polls in 2022. After assuming office for a second term, the chief minister in his first cabinet meeting ordered the constitution of the UCC draft committee.
BJP strategists feel the UCC will be a “game changer” as it will give relief from “social evils” and rights in property to Muslim women. Uttarakhand has a nearly 14 per cent Muslim population.
The BJP-led Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat governments have also formed committees to study the UCC after the Dhami government took the lead.