It was clearly Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati's day in the state assembly on Monday when she bulldozed her way to achieve the near impossible -- passing the resolution for division of the country's most populous state into four smaller states in a matter of minutes.
Evidently, that marked the success of the second part of her pre-election action plan. When she formally mooted the idea, she stole the thunder from her bete noire Rahul Gandhi, who had literally snatched the spotlight from everybody else with his impressive rally at Phulpur last week.
The manner in which she managed to carry out her operation -- in the face of a fully united and supposedly prepared opposition -- is worth a special mention
All the vows about opposing any division of UP seemed to fall flat.
Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav's warning, "I will not allow division of Uttar Pradesh at any cost" or Bharatiya Janata Party leader Rajnath Singh's assertion , "Let a state re-organisation commission be formed before initiating any such move to divide UP", could not deter the inimitable Mayawati from having her way.
Even the combined threat of the SP and the BJP to move a no-confidence motion against the Bahujan Samaj Party government eventually turned out to be hollow. Interestingly, all major opposition leaders are now crying hoarse over the "unconstitutional manner" in which Mayawati got the resolution passed in the House.
"It is a murder of democracy," cried Leader of Opposition Shivpal Yadav, adding, "We demand invalidation of the entire proceedings of the assembly."
He added, "A fresh session of the House must be convened for a debate on the all important and sensitive issue of division of the country's most populous state."
Yadav, who also led a SP delegation to UP Governor B L Joshi to seek his intervention in the matter, accused Mayawati of losing the confidence of the house.
Refuting her claim of having enough numbers on her side, he sought to know, "If Mayawati was so confident of her majority, why did she run away from a debate and even went to the extent of getting the House adjourned sine die."
Bhartiya Janata Party's leader Om Prakash Singh exclaimed, "Mayawati concluded a so-called winter session of the state assembly in barely 20 minutes,", but he didn't explain why his party allowed it to happen. He urged the central government and Parliament to reject the resolution passed by the state assembly.
"It is disgraceful that constitutional provisions were blatantly violated by the chief minister and assembly speaker Sukhdev Rajbhar also became a party to it," he said.
Congress Legislature Party leader Pramod Tiwari claimed that he was satisfied with the delegation he had led to the state governor, urging him to nullify the whole exercise, which he termed as "grossly unconstitutional".
Tiwari said, "The speed with which the resolution was tabled and passed in the House was unprecedented. Never in the past has any important resolution been passed without a debate, which is a key component for adoption of any resolution. We condemn the chief minister for doing this".
Yet, no one is ready to explain why they caused so much noise in the House, which came in handy for Mayawati to conveniently get the resolution passed by voice vote.
After all, none of the opposition leaders are novices in the business of the state legislature and there is no reason why they could not have anticipated the chief minister's moves.
Sure enough, if the opposition had allowed the assembly to function normally, it would have been difficult for Mayawati to push her resolution in the manner she did.
Under normal circumstances, if the opposition had demanded a division of the House or a headcount, the resolution may not have sailed through as easily.